Oooooohhhhh the wonderful potato! It's the perfect little spuddy buddy.
I hosted Thanksgiving a couple of years ago for the first time, and, naturally... researched the mashed potato recipe for probably a month. I finally settled on this one. One of the big tricks is the potato ricer (see below). It was a game changer.
For this recipe, you'll want to invest in a potato ricer. You'll never use that old masher again. By ricing the potatoes, you release less of the starch, so they don't get gummy and tough. They stay light, fluffy, and perfect-o. Here's a good one:
When I was pregnant, all I wanted was potatoes. Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, baked potato soup... I'd probably have eaten them raw if I needed to. I wonder if the craving had something to do with my grandparents being potato farmers? I'm not too sure. Either way... this recipe really curbed that craving.
THE Mashed Potatoes
4 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into equal-sized pieces (about 2")
1 tbs. Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the potatoes in a large stockpot and submerge with cold water until covered by 1". Add 1 tbs. Kosher salt. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, but not overdone or crumbly (about 20-25 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of starchy cooking liquid if you're making the potatoes ahead of time. Drain and return potatoes to the stockpot over low heat; stir until dry (about 1 minute).
While potatoes cook, heat milk, thyme, bay leaves, and 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter has melted, stirring to prevent burning. Remove from heat.
Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer while they're still warm (otherwise the texture changes). Discard herbs from milk mixture. Slowly, gently stir in the liquid to the riced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Do ahead: Potatoes can be made 4 hours ahead (make sure to reserve liquid). Pass the warm potatoes through the ricer and cover until ready to serve. Just before serving, heat over low, gently stirring in reserved liquid until you reach the desired texture.