Mashed potatoes are one of life’s great things. Creamy, comforting, soft and filling, they’re a vehicle for gravy, sausages aren’t the same without them, and they often give roast potatoes a run in the spud popularity stakes.
But do you know how to make perfect mashed potatoes?
However, instant Smash has long had a bad name (so powdery), while industrially produced school mash tended to be grey and grainy, so it seems a little strange that ready-made mash has been added to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) basket of goods and services, used to calculate inflation.
Women’s exercise leggings; action cameras, such as GoPros; raspberries; quiche; body lotion and high chairs have also been included in the latest list, which is supposed to reflect modern spending habits. Meanwhile, pork pies and Edam cheese got kicked out of the basket.
But what’s the appeal of ready-made mashed potatoes, when they’re so easy and satisfying to make from scratch?
Sure, the pre-packaged variety tend to be quicker to get on the table (although only if you have a microwave; Tesco’s version takes 25-30 minutes in the oven from chilled, which isn’t much time-saved at all), but it’s certainly not cheaper.
When you can buy a 2.5kg bag of Maris Piper potatoes from Sainsbury’s for £2, 400g of ready-made Sainsbury’s mash for 85p (that’s £2.13 per kg) is undeniably steep. Also, the amount of single-use plastic packaging involved is ridiculous.
Sure, the ease of it is tempting, but you can’t beat the proper homemade stuff.
How to make perfect mashed potatoes
Perfect mashed potatoes
- Potato masher
- 1 kg potatoes King Edward or Maris Piper preferably
- 10 g butter
- 20 ml milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- Skin your potatoes – preferably they should be of the King Edward or Maris Piper variety (unless you’re into your sweet potatoes instead).
- Simmer in a pan of salted, boiling water until tender (around 20 minutes).
- Drain thoroughly and return to the hot pan to dry out for two to three minutes.
- Add butter – lots of butter – a splash or two of milk, and a good grind of salt and pepper.
- Mash until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the plan with a spatula as you go.
- At this point, season to taste and add a little more butter to serve, or add additional flavourings e.g. a grating of garlic, Parmesan, chives, or chopped spring onion (to transform it into champ).