Christopher Kimball (Cook's Illustrated-founder, bow tiewearer, and Kitchen Detective) gets to the matter very quickly: "There is nothing worse than a bowl of mashed potatoes that have lost their culinary roots in pursuit of star power."
Amen. Making mashed potatoes isn't rocket science, and while there are wrong ways and right ways about going about the process, one shouldn't try to mess with what's not broken. But...
For the sake of mixing it up, and not having the same mashed potatoes week after week, he comes up with some interesting alternatives to this classic dish. What he proposes is simple and takes no more time to complete. Just add another root vegetable to the pot. It doesn't sound like a drastic change, but it completely changes the final flavor. I added some carrots and they lent the perfect sweet counterpoint to this starchy side.
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, washed
- 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
Place the whole un-peeled potatoes in a large pot and fill with water until they are covered by an inch. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Toss the carrots and cook for another 15 minutes.
Drain the vegetables in a colander. Carefully remove the skins of the potatoes. Toss everything back into the waterless pot. Go to town with a potato masher.
Add the butter, mash some more. Than whisk in the heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.