I came up with this garlic mashed potatoes recipe by combining a few different ideas from family and friends.
Cooking the garlic with the potatoes is a trick from my dad's mom, that my Auntie told me about. I thought it was just such an awesome idea, and I always make my mashed potatoes this way now.
Using the potato cooking water instead of milk is a trick I got from my best friend's husband, back when I was living with them. He made awesome mashed potatoes, and I was pretty surprised to find out there was no milk at all in them!
As it turns out, that trick was really nice for me, because there never seems to be any milk at my place. Either it's gone in a day, or it's gone bad. What happens to the time between buying it and it going bad is a big mystery. But with this garlic mashed potatoes recipe, there's no milk needed.
And now, the best garlic mashed potatoes recipe!
Place the potatoes and garlic in a medium pot, and fill it with enough water to just cover the potatoes.
Cover, and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, and keep boiling for 10 to 20 minutes, until a knife stuck in the potatoes slides in and out easily. The potatoes should be soft, but not mushy.
Drain the potatoes and garlic, saving the cooking water. With a potato masher, mash the garlic and potatoes with about a 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of the cooking water.
Be sure to mash the garlic well so that it blends in nicely.
Season the potatoes with the salt and pepper, and stir in the butter 1 tbsp at a time, until the taste is right for you.
You can start with less butter, then add more until the taste is just right.
You can also add more cooking water to get the consistency the way you like it.
What kind of potato should you use? It's entirely up to you. A lot of people love russet potatoes or Yukon gold for mashed potatoes, but I feel that most any potato can make a good mashed potato. It all depends on your tastes.
It's best to cook the potatoes in as little water as possible. They should be completely covered, but if there's less water, you won't lose as much flavor or nutrients.
The smaller the potato chunks, that faster they'll cook, but they'll absorb more water and won't be as flavorful. 1.5 to 2 inches is a good size.
I find that with the flavor from the garlic and butter, there's no real need for milk. The cooking water has some of the potatoes' lost nutrients and some garlic flavor, too, and works just as well in this garlic mashed potato recipe.
You can always use milk or cream instead of the cooking water. If you do, though, it's important that the milk be warm. It helps the potatoes be fluffy ï¿½ that's why the hot cooking water works so well.
Ever had gluey potatoes? Here are ways to avoid it.
Cook the potatoes in as little water as possible, so the potatoes don't absorb as much water.
Drain the potatoes as soon as they're done cooking. Again, it'll avoid them absorbing too much water.
Most importantly, don't over-mash the potatoes! If you can, mash them by hand with a potato ricer or potato masher. If you have to use an immersion blender, target each chunk of potato and mash it once on low speed, and that's it!