Think of this as an everyday recipe – one that you can adapt based on what you have in the fridge. Nothing is overly decadent, although, you could easily turn them into something that is. We call for 1 cup of liquid to be added to the potatoes. At home, we usually use equal parts milk to chicken stock. You could use all milk or all chicken stock. Or, replace some milk with heavy cream for extra decadent potatoes. A tablespoon or two of cream cheese wouldn’t hurt, either. The trick to great mashed potatoes is seasoning up front. Adding a hearty amount of salt to the water seasons the potatoes while they cook – we use at least 1 tablespoon. This is similar to salting pasta water.
2 pounds yellow, red, or white potatoes
Salt, plus more to taste
1 cup milk, chicken stock or a combination, see our homemade chicken stock recipe
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Splash cream, optional
Scrub then dice potatoes, making sure they are similar in size. (We often leave the skin on the potatoes, but it is completely up to you). Drop potatoes in a large saucepan, add a tablespoon of salt and cover with water.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a low simmer. Cook until the potatoes fall apart when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat the milk or chicken stock, and the butter until warm and the butter has melted.
Drain then return the potatoes to the saucepan and cover with a clean dishtowel. Leave them for about 5 minutes to absorb excess steam that can make mashed potatoes watery.
Pour in the warm butter mixture then mash the potatoes until creamy. (Don’t worry if the potatoes seem a bit thin at first, they absorb the liquid after a minute or two). Stir in the pepper and splash of cream (if using). Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes so that the potatoes thicken, and then serve.