Another Food Mill/Ricer Question
Is there any substitute for a food mill or a ricer when directed to pass potatoes for mashies thru a food mill or a ricer? I'm trying to avoid buying add'l equipment.
My suggestion would be to just use a potato masher or immersion blender...although I'd worry that an immersion blender would make things too pasty. I suppose it depends on the recipe and how important texture is.
Btw, I had the same problem - for years I refused to cave in and buy a food mill...they're just so big and expensive and how often do you REALLY need one?
But right before Christmas I finally plonked down the dough for one. Granted, I have only used it once since buying it, but the results were amazing. You can boil potatoes with their skins still on, saving time and (I personally insist) improving flavor. When you pass through the mill, it takes the skins off...I think this is why it's so helpful with tomato dishes as well. The texture is incredibly creamy, too.
It will take a while for it to justify the extra cost and storage space, but I don't regret the investment.
I think I need to change my handle from "nashwill" to "junkstoreguy"...anyway, I bought both my ricer and my Foley food mill from either antique malls or swap meets, kinda hard to keep track. I think the Foley was $15 (it was in perfect condition, except for some rust on the knurled knob) and the ricer $4. They are both highly valued tools, for all the reasons cited above and below.
Food mills last so long and are so versatile they are worth the cost and storage. In over 32 years I have only replaced one. I just wore it out. I have used it for so many things besides potatoes. Squash purees, apple sauce, no skinning/peeling the apples. If you have a baby in the house you can certainly use the food mill for some quick baby food. The ricer though is only good for one thing.
Potatoes and immersion blenders are not a good combination.
If you're crazy, you can squish your potatoes through a sieve, a colander, or a china cap.
It is a ROYAL PAIN IN THE BUTT!
YOu can mash soft potatoes with a heavy-duty whisk; it does incorporate a little more air then just using a masher, but it is more labor intensive.
I just use my kitkenaid with the paddle attatchemnt and *ahem* take my lumps.
You can simply mash them with a potato masher. Or, if you have a standing grater, you can grate the boiled potatos. Pushing the potatoes through a sieve or a collander would give you the most similar outcome to a foodmill/ricer. I would not use an immersion or hand-held blender, as you will likely end up with gummy potatoes.
The food mill has more uses and is irreplaceable for those uses, so you should have that.
I think a ricer has a lighter touch than a food mill in terms of mashed potatoes; it's my tool of choice for that use. Also can be used for certain soup-oriented fresh noodles, Italian style.
Both are better than a masher.
And a blender or food processor for mashed potatoes should be criminal.
I don't know of any other way to get the same texture. The potato ricers that look like big garlic presses work great, are cheap, and don't take up much room. I have one made in Italy (the Italians call it a schiacciapatate) with two plates. Paid about 20 bucks for it some years ago. If all you want to do is potatoes, that's all you need, but a food mill (I have the Cuisipro mill with 3 sieves) is an extremely useful tool. It will do potatoes and a lot of other stuff, too. I mainly use it to separate the pulp of rehydrated dried chiles from the seeds and skins. Also, I have wild grape vines and use it to separate out the grape pulp for making jam. It'll do tomatoes for making tomato sauce, etc., etc.
re: Jim Washburn
Another top choice for a food mill is the All-Clad. Similar in tank-like sturdiness to the Cuisipro, with two handles and three sieves, about the same price. The Cuisipro handles are bent rod and the All-Clad handles are their traditional cast ones. Works great particularly if you have one person to hold the handles while another cranks. Don't know why I struggled for years with the wobbly tin one I bought at the hardware store.
The trick is to periodically turn the handle backward to redistribute the food.
You will quickly find reasons to use your food mill!