Not just mashed potatoes, but garlic mashed potatoes! What is better than that? I can’t think of too many dishes that are better than a correctly made garlic mash. I grew up on mashed potatoes, but once I tried it with garlic in it, I knew I was in love.
I have tried to make mashed potatoes correctly ever since I started learning how to cook. It didn’t matter what recipe I tried, they just didn’t turn out tasting as good as those in a great steakhouse.
- I tried different seasonings.
- I tried different levels of milk fat.
- I tried butter versus margarine.
- I tried different kinds of potatoes.
- I tried peeling versus not peeling, whole versus chunked versus diced.
- How to do the garlic, mashed, chopped, diced, cooked, not cooked, boiled or raw.
- I tried a hand mixer versus the more powerful kitchenaid mixer. I had a masher, but never used it for that, because I thought it was not necessary.
Nothing seemed to work. No matter what I did, my potatoes didn’t seem to taste that great. I tried making my own recipe. I tried recipes in cookbooks, in magazines, on the internet. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong.
So I decided to go to the experts to see what my problem was.
Sur La Table
I take classes at Sur La Table on a regular basis. I am averaging about one a month, if not more often. So I knew the chefs there would be able to tell me what I did wrong. I found a class that had garlic mashed potatoes as one of the sides, and immediately signed up.
Come that night, I was stoked. I had my pen ready to take notes. And boy did I ever! I was doing almost everything wrong.
I had always waited for the water to boil before I put the potatoes on to cook. Wrong answer.
Using a combo of heavy whipping cream and whole milk gives it a creamy flavor. I had never thought of heavy cream.
I don’t even want to get started on what I did wrong with the garlic. I did it every way wrong possible. I never even guessed right on how to handle the fragrant flavor. And I learned that night that you need to take out that little bulb in the center of the clove. That bulb can induce heart burn! A home goddess does not want heart burn. Actually, no one wants heart burn!
My biggest mistake was how I finished them off. I found out using a mixer of any kind would make the mashed potatoes a gooey paste instead of smooth and creamy. I learned this is because that kind of cutting into the potatoes will break down the starches in the potatoes, leaving very little starch for the milk and potatoes to attach to. A ricer is the best way to keep the starch intact, with a hand masher coming in second. But, I think the ricer is a quicker, easier way to do it.
Hey, at least I got the kind of potatoes right. Use russet potatoes at all costs!
The Recipe – Garlic Mashed Potatoes
So here is the recipe for making what I consider restaurant quality garlic mashed potatoes.
For the garlic
- 1 head of garlic (not one clove, the whole thing!)
- 1/8 cup olive oil
For the potatoes
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
- 1/2 Tbsp sea or kosher salt, plus another 3/4 tsp, divided
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2/3 cup whole milk (may need more)
- 1/2 stick UNSALTED butter
- Ground pepper to taste
- Salt to taste (make sure to taste before adding this!)
- Cut the top off the garlic. You will be leaving the garlic inside its skin for right now.
- Place in the middle of a piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp olive oil on top of cut garlic. Fold foil to make a present.
- Put package on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
- Cool a little while and squeeze the cloves out of the paper, right into the potatoes.
Cooking the potatoes
- In a large pot, place potatoes. Add enough water so there is 2 inches of water on top of the potatoes.
- Bring water to a boil. Add 1/2 Tbsp of the salt of your choice.
- Lower temperature to medium (simmer) and cover pot with a lid that is not tight or fully seal pot. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until you can pierce a potato with a fork and it falls of the tines.
- Drain potatoes. Place back in pan.
Making the milk mixture
- While the potatoes are cooking, put the whipping cream, milk, butter, and the 3/4 tsp salt in a small saucepan.
- Heat over medium until butter is melted, probably 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat.
Putting it all together
- Squeeze garlic into the potatoes. Mash the potatoes the way you prefer (masher, ricer, fork, mixer).
- Stir the milk mixture into the mashed potatoes until creamy.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
And there you have it! Garlic mashed potatoes any chef goddess will be proud to serve. If you want a print page of the recipe, click on this link for the download.