Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dad's White Pepper Potatoes

My Dad used to make the most awesome mashed potatoes ever.  On many occasions (especially holidays) we'd run out before everyone got a share! We now make sure that we have more than enough mashed potatoes for everyone.  They're never the same now that Dad's not here anymore, mainly because only he knew the secret to making them perfect every time, but also because of the love and affection he added to all of his cooking.

Once again, this recipe is pretty vague,  mainly because its a recipe that grows with the person and the family that makes them, some want more white pepper, others want more sour cream or to add garlic, soon it becomes your potato recipe.  My mom taught me the best way to figure out how many potatoes to cook each time you make them is to "count how many people are coming to dinner and "add one for the pot'." this method has generally served me well when making potatoes, whether they are mashed or pan fried; of course if your potatoes are small you should add  two or three to the pot just in case.  My husband on the other hand is one that will eat a ton of potatoes at dinner so I count him as two ^.^

Dad's White Pepper Potatoes

Baking Potatoes (see above for how many to cook)
Salt (plus more to taste)
White Pepper (start with 1/8 tsp adjust as necessary)
Sour Cream (average family of 4 should be around 1/4 cup.. adjust as necessary) - my family uses IMO sour cream substitute instead of real sour cream

  1. Under cold running water wash potatoes before peeling. 
  2. Once peeled cut potatoes into roughly 3/4" thick pieces that are about as round as a fifty cent piece, generally I quarter them length wise then cut that into thirds and it does the trick. 
  3. Cutting them into an almost uniform size this allows them to all cook at the same rate making it so that you dont over or under cook your potatoes.(over cooking can result in gummy, pasty or starchy potatoes; under cooking can lead to bland, lumpy, gloppy potatoes) 
  4. To save time and effort I cut my potatoes under cold running water to prevent them from oxidizing in the air and then immediately place them into the pot of salted cold water that I will be cooking them in.  
  5. Boil potatoes until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife. Drain immediately, reserving some of the water for the gravy (the starch helps thicken the gravy naturally). 
  6. Mash potatoes using your usual method, generally with a potato ricer (smooth, silky potatoes!), potato masher.. or like my dad did... with the mixer as you add in the additional ingredients. 
  7. Add white pepper (start with 1/8tsp and go from there), sour cream (start with 3 tbsp and adjust as necessary.. general guidelines are above) and salt to taste; you may add milk or butter if desired. 
  8. Whip on medium speed until smooth, adjusting sour cream or butter as desired.

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