Even promptly served mashed potatoes can be cold by the time the last person takes a helping. This is where reserving the cooking water comes in handy.Tips:
Enlist helpers. Mashed potatoes need to be made on site, immediately prior to serving. While one helper is setting out the dishes that could be made in advance, another will be making these while you make the gravy and someone else carves the bird.Ingredients:
Add chunks of potatoes to boiling water. Allow potatoes to simmer for 10 – 20 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, heat gently milk, butter and cream. DO NOT BOIL, just warm until the butter melts.
When the potatoes are tender, drain the water into a heat proof receptacle (a pyrex bowl works well). You want to reserve the cooking water for gravy, soup and for heating up your potatoes when they inevitably grow cold on the table.
Pour the milk, cream and butter mixture into the hot potatoes in the pan and mash with a simple hand-held potato masher. Add whatever spices or salt you prefer (there are variations below). This easy and fast method will keep your potatoes hot longer, because all your ingredients are at the same temperature.
Serve in the heaviest covered dish you have—ideally one that is microwave safe. That way, when people are ready for seconds, you can swirl in a dribble of the reserved cooking water, give the dish a quick zap in the microwave (try 10-15 seconds at a time), and hand them piping hot mashed potatoes as good as new.
Variations: Many diners insist on pristine mashed potatoes, for those who like a bit more flavor you can serve a number of mashed potato condiments other than gravy. Try these:
Cracked pepper: Add coarsely ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Mustard: Spoon a dollop of coarse seeded mustard into your mashed potatoes. Do not add additional salt, because the mustard will likely be salty enough.
Garlic: Divide a portion of pristine potatoes from those you wish to infuse with a clove of garlic crushed and suspended in enough olive oil to make it into a paste. Add an extra touch of salt to punch up the garlic flavor.
Rosemary: Add a few pinches of freshly chopped rosemary and a touch of celery salt as you mash the potatoes for a savory flavor.