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Boy.Did I ever mess up the mashed potatoes!

One of the small things I do to help my DW with Thanksgiving dinner is to take on the mashed potato prep. I've been doing my small part for decades. Well, this years dish was a disaster! I produced a tasteless, watery, and thin potato offering that was an epic fail.

I can't think of anything I did different with the potatoes from years past...except, I peepled them at about 6 AM and sat them in a water bath to prevent browning. About eight pounds were in that bath until about 4 PM when I put them on heat to boil them. When finished, I hand mashed the potatoes, adding about 1/8 lb salted butter cut into pats, and "about" a cup of Half & Half.

Any observations on how this dish went so terribly wrong? Can I fix the LARGE portion that remains?

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  1. You could try baking them in a casserole. Other ideas, potato patties, gnocchi, potato bread, potato soup.

    As far as what went wrong, either letting them soak that long or not drying them after draining.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kengk

      Wow. good thought about drying them after letting them sit so long in the water bath. Thank you.

    2. What type of potato did you use? Idaho will come out different than Yukon Golds, than russets from elsewhere, than general chef type, etc. Maybe something like that? I would add some good instant mashed to thicken them up to your liking; Idahoan is not bad.

      Just remembered, someone on another post had the same problem with storebought mashed potatoes and baked them in a casserole dish for awhile and they came out fine.

      9 Replies
      1. re: coll

        They were Idahos. A terrific looking bag, too. Thank you for the suggestion to add some dry, instant to the remainder.

        1. re: RedTop

          I bought Idahos, but something was off with them. I thought they were cooked and they are usually so light and fluffy, but I could hardly rice half of them. Dissappointed but people still ate them. They were cheap so buyer beware! Next time I'll pay top dollar.

        2. re: coll

          Just got back from Kroger with a pouch of Idahoan Buttery Homestyle instant mashed potatoes. So, coll, do I fix the package according to the instructions before adding them to my disaster? I'll be baking the hybrid product in the oven.

          BTW...the selection of instant mashed potato packages at this Kroger was mind-numbing. Gad.

          1. re: RedTop

            No just add it in dry slowly until you get the consistancy you want. And baking can only help.

            1. re: coll

              Adding the dry instant did wonders for the potatoes. They came out nicely "firm" and gathered some potato flavor along the way. At Christmas, I'll be doing Yukon Gold potatoes and not soaking them before cooking. Thanks for your help.

              1. re: RedTop

                Instant potatoes are also great for thickening cream soups, glad it helped.

                You know, I got Idahos too and realized last night that mine also are very very watery. Must have had a monsoon in Idaho or something recently.

                I used Yukon Golds for years but then decided they were TOO thick. I like that Idahos are so fluffy. I wonder how a mix would be?

          2. re: coll

            coll is right - type of potato.....sounds like a baking potato got boiled

            1. re: coastie

              I agree. I would not use that type of potato for mashed.

              1. re: melpy

                ALWAYS russet and ALWAYS baked - never boiled. Amazingly rich and creamy.

          3. Add more salt, garlic and bake till browned a little.

            1. I'd probably add some cheese and put in oven till brown!?!

              1. Idaho's absorb water like a sponge. Notice when they're baked how light and 'mealy' they are. Thats bc they aren't holding water. Too long in the water sorry to say.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Puffin3

                  Probably true. One trick to assist here is to return the drained potatoes to the pan and cook them "dry" for a few minutes -- evaporates a good amount of moisture.

                2. Once we started to use Yukon Gold potatoes, we never went back. I think it is best to start the peeling when turkey is in the oven for 1-1.5 hrs. Ricer helps to make them perfect. 1/2 & 1/2 and butter, heated slightly before adding to potatoes.

                  1. I haven't boiled tham in years. I think this gives the potatoes a very watery, one-dimensional flavor. We bake them, then cut them in half and rice them into cream and salt. Top with butter. Yum. The baked potatoes give them a very rich flavor that is unmatched by boiling.

                    The bonus here is NO PEELING! Oh, and no extra pot on the stove.

                    1. I use Yukon Golds and have soaked them, not as long as you did, without problem. I bet it was the potato type although I didn't know that they soak up water as someone commented.

                      Also, 1/8 cup butter for 8 pounds of potatoes? That seems very scant to me and perhaps is part of the boring taste problem. I added sour cream, roasted garlic, and rosemary that had cooked alongside the turkey, getting all browned in the fat.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: tcamp

                        Yup, I was truly light on the butter. At Christmas I'll do better. I was concerned that using the Half & Half would make the dish too rich.

                        1. re: RedTop

                          I use full fat yogurt or sour cream, and a stick of butter (for 6 or 8 potatoes), but if I wanted to thin it down I'd go with heavy cream myself! What is this "too rich"?

                      2. There's all kinds of things you can do with the remains. Even after you add the potato flakes.

                        Irish potato pancakes are good. So is potato flat bread. Just add some butter to the potatoes and enough flour to make an easy to work with dough. Cook on a griddle or cast iron skillet. Delicious stuff. You could also make potato soup... adding ham and cheese.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: thymetobake

                          Funny, thyme, I was thinking of potato pancakes with the leftovers even as I prepped them for Thanksgiving dinner!

                          1. re: RedTop

                            Yep, today is potato pancake day here too. Mass quantities of leftover mashed this year!