Monday, December 5, 2011

Mashed Potatoes on the Holiday Table

Although I did not grow up eating mashed potatoes for the holiday meal, most of my midwestern friends don't think it's a holiday dinner without mashed potatoes.  And when in Rome, do as the Romans do.  Therefore, I am doing mashed potatoes as one of my holiday sides.

For your holiday mashed potatoes, start with either russet (Idaho) or Yukon Gold potatoes.  These types are better suited for making mashed potatoes.  Russets are high in starch and low in moisture.  For this reason russets cook up drier and fluffier and are better able to absorb butter and cream. Russets also lose their shape when simmered, so they are good for thickening soups and stews. Yukon Golds are a great all purpose potato.  Although they contain less starch than russets, they are good for baking and making mashed potatoes.

To make lower fat mashed potatoes, try using buttermilk or nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream. 

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4.

1 pound potatoes, Yukon Gold or Russets
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt

1.  If desired, peel potatoes.  Cut into 1-inch pieces.  Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until potato is tender. 

2.  Drain potatoes thoroughly.  To further remove water, return potatoes to the saucepan on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, shaking constantly so they don't burn.  Mash potatoes with a potato masher.  Stir in buttermilk, butter and salt.

Since it is the holidays, if you want to "upscale" your mashed potatoes, here are some suggestions.  But remember, add-ins like cheese and bacon also bring extra calories.
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Chives or green onions
  • Herbs, such as parsley or pesto
  • Horseradish and low fat sour cream, especially good for serving with beef


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