Watch how I figured out the best way to cut potatoes for mashed potatoes. This pie-shape cut allows a range of doneness and starch gelatinization optimal for mashed potatoes.
- 2 pounds russet potatoes (rinsed, peeled and cut into pie-shaped pieces (see video))
- 2 pounds red "boiling" potatoes (rinsed, peeled and cut into pie-shaped pieces)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
- 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 6 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
- Place all spud hunks in a 4-quart saucepan and add just enough cold tap water to cover. (You can put the potatoes in the water and refrigerate them for up to 8 hours before cooking.) Add 1 teaspoon of the salt to the pot, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. (This will take about 15 minutes.)
- Meanwhile, combine the buttermilk, cream and garlic in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a bare simmer over low heat, watching to make sure the mixture doesn’t boil over. Keep the mixture barely bubbling until the potatoes are done.
- When the spud water boils, ditch the lid, drop the heat to a simmer, and cook until the spuds are easily crushed with tongs, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan and the heat. Toss and shake gently for 30 seconds or so to knock off any excess surface moisture. (The drier the spuds the better.)
- Move the pan to a trivet, hot pad or towel on the countertop and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Pour on about a quarter of the buttermilk mixture and start mashing.
- As the spuds break down, add more of the buttermilk mixture until you’re happy with the results. Remember, these are mashed potatoes, not whipped potatoes. If you over-mash in an attempt to smooth every piece you will inevitably rupture starch granules, which can and most likely will result in gummy potatoes.
The goal here is to use the starch profile of two different potato varieties to produce rustic and chunky mashed spuds possessing contrasting and complementary textures.