There’s something so homely about mashed potato. It goes on top of shepherds pie, under vegan sausages, and makes up the main ingredient in sizzle-and-squeek. What would life be like without mash?
Serves: 4, or 2 as a main. Prep: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 15-20 + 5 minutes of mashing.
Stores: A day or two in the fridge. (Use left-overs to make potato cakes.)
- Kettle (optional)
- Potato peeler (optional)
- Chopping board
- Large pot
- Large bowl (optional)
- Potato masher, ricer or electric whisk
- Half-cup measure, or cup
- 800 grams potato
- 1 tablespoon oil or butter
- 0.25 cup potato water (optional – replace with milk of plain water)
- 0.25 cup milk, or any dairy-free milk replacement
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill the pot with a couple of litres of boiling water (boil the kettle twice, if using) and set to boil.
- Peel the potatoes, if you can be bothered. You can also scrape the potatoes with the knife, or just cut away pieces that don’t look perfect. If you keep the skin on, the mash won’t be as pretty, but it will be even healthier.
- Cut the potatoes into inch-size pieces (the smaller the piece, the quicker it cooks).
- Put the potatoes into the water (carefully – it’s easy to burn yourself on hot splatter).
- Let boil for 15 minutes then check if they’re done. A potato ready for mashing is soft and you can cut it with the back of a knife easily. Catch a large piece with the spoon, stab or cut it with the knife, and decide if it’s done. If not, leave for another five minutes.
- When the potato is done, place the collander over the large bowl, and drain the potatoes. The reason I like to catch the potato liquid is that it contains a fair amount of starch and potato flavour. It is the perfect liquid to add to the potatoes when mashing.
- Put the potatoes back into the pot, but take it off the heat.
- Add the water and oil, then mash and mix.
- Add the rest of the liquid and mash and mix some more. You have a choice to make here: whether to make it lumpy, fairly or completely smooth. Personally, I like the middle ground.
- Season. When it’s to your taste, serve.
- Mustard mash: Add a tablespoon of whole-grain mustard.
- Colcannon-ish: Add a couple of leaves of green or white cabbage, finely sliced, and fried separately in a little vegetable oil. Mix with the mash before serving. Colcannon is great in a big heap, with a fried of poached egg on top.
- Oven-ready: If using the mash to top something that’s going in the oven, like a shepherdspie, add a little more liquid to the mash, and stir in an egg yolk to get really good colour when it cooks.