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Buttery Mashed Potatoes

So many comfort foods call out for a side of mashed potatoes that you want to be sure you get them right. That means using the right potatoes, adding lots of sweet butter and warming the milk so the potatoes don’t cool. Those tips make the difference between a bowl of ordinary spuds and a creamy, fluffy masterpiece.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds baking potatoes 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper  
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for serving 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed 
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives 

Directions:

Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes with salted water to cover, cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Return the potatoes to the pan and stir over medium-low heat for 2 minutes to evaporate the excess moisture.

Press the warm potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl. Cut the butter into slices and scatter over the potatoes. Whisk in the butter and enough of the milk to give the potatoes the texture you like. (Or, if you don’t have a ricer, beat the potatoes in the pot with a handheld mixer on high speed. Add the butter and continue beating on high speed, adding milk as needed to create the desired texture. Be careful not to overbeat the potatoes.)

Mix in the chives and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve at once with additional butter, if desired. Serves 6.

Variation: Give the mashed potatoes a boost of flavor with roasted garlic. Slice a head of garlic in half crosswise, drizzle the halves with olive oil, wrap them in aluminum foil, and place in a small, shallow pan. Bake in a preheated 400ºF oven until the cloves are soft, about 35 minutes. Squeeze the cloves from their papery sheaths into the potatoes when you add the milk and whisk to combine.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).