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Jan 15, 2013 07:54 PM

pureeing potatoes

So, I have heard many times that, when making mashed potatoes, one should never process them in the blender, or they will become gluey & nasty. Something about breaking up the starch molecules, I believe. I made potato-leek soup the other night & the recipe said to puree the finished soup in the blender. I used an immersion blender & was excited to see how smooth it became. However, the texture was kind of funny...goopy, one might even say gluey. Then I remembered the mashed potato rule & am now wondering why it is OK to puree potato soup, but not mashed potatoes, in a blender. Or is it not OK (which my results would seem to indicate), in which case why does everyone seem to recommend it? Any ideas?

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  1. Maybe the ratio of cream to potato makes a difference, as well as the length of time blending?

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. You can always add water to soup to counteract the glueness. can't do that for mashed potatoes.

        1. When I make leek and potato soup I gently saute the leeks in lots of clarified butter until really soft. Then I puree them with some warm milk not cream. I bake the russet potatoes in tin foil until they are really soft. Then I scoop out the potato from the jackets and 'rice' them. Then I add warm milk and gently fold the potatoes until I almost get the 'soupy' texture I want then I stir in the pureed leeks and enough hot cream to bring the texture to the consistency I want. A few grinds of nutmeg and white pepper and serve in hot bowls. This method gives a silky smooth texture and the potatoes haven't been over worked. By baking the russets they don't absorb water like if they are boiled. That IMO makes all the difference. The soup is warm not hot and the hot bowls keep the soup warm. You can serve this soup cold in the summer on the deck under the awning.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Puffin3

            Interesting method; maybe I will try it your way next time. Thanks!

            1. re: stak

              Also try adding fat, as Karl S suggested.

              The theory of it is that starches gelatinize when heated with water and do so more readily when damaged. Some gelatinization is necessary to produce the correct texture / thicken the mixture, but not so much as to reach the 'glue' stage. With less mechnical processing (i.e. a ricer rather than a food processor), there will be less damage to the starches, and so gelatinization will be slowed. In the opposite of what occurs in making choux pastry, by adding fats first, the fats will tend to coat the starches and impede absorption of water and gelatinization.

          2. The best texture for starchy root vegetables is obtained by using a ricer (a food mill is good, but agitates somewhat more than a ricer, so the food mill takes a close second place in that regard; the food mill, however, is best for fruits/vegetables with skin) and adding a generous amount of fat (melted butter; heavy cream) before further processing, to discourage the glue effect.