Have we been cooking mashed potato all wrong?

Marie Claire Dorking
Have we been cooking mashed potato all wrong? [Photo: Rex]
Have we been cooking mashed potato all wrong? [Photo: Rex]

Mmm mashed potato. Simple, comfort food don’t get much better. But while most of us would be confident that we know how to cook mashed potato, turns out that we might have been prepping our spuds all wrong.

Food Network chef Tyler Florence revealed to Popsugar that the classic method of par boiling potatoes in water before draining, then mashing could actually be the incorrect way of preparing the much-loved dish because you could be throwing the flavour away with the discarded cooking water.

Instead, the chef recommends cooking the tatties in cream and butter, then collecting the resulting liquid to add to the potatoes when mashing. Oh!

“When the potatoes are tender, I put a bowl on the counter and a colander inside that bowl. I pour the potatoes through the colander, and the cream will collect on the bottom,” he told the publication.

“Then I’ll put the potatoes back into the pot and take the potato-infused garlic cream and fold that back into the potatoes, and it’s the most incredible flavour profile.”

The TV chef claims this revolutionary method of cooking the classic dish will produce the “best mashed potato you’ll ever taste in your entire life.”

Should we be par boiling potatoes in water or cream? [Photo: Unsplash via Pexels]
Should we be par boiling potatoes in water or cream? [Photo: Unsplash via Pexels]

But not everyone agrees with the controversial method. Steve Smith, Head Chef at Michelin starred Bohemia claims that potatoes will hold onto their flavour if you add a few key ingredients to the cooking water.

“We make our mash potato in water. But so that the potatoes do not lose flavour we season the water with a clove of garlic, a few sprigs of thyme and add seasoning (this is based on your personal preference),” he explains.

“I use 200ml of milk, 200ml of butter and 200ml of cream and add more thyme and garlic. I add the just cooked potatoes to a potato ricer and reduce the milk, butter and cream mixture by half (to 300ml) and remove the garlic and thyme. Then beat the cream mixture into the potatoes,” he says.

And for a healthier mash, Steve suggests steaming or baking Ratte potatoes. “Ratte potato is grown by French farmers and it has a nutty flavour and buttery texture,” he explains. “Once these are cooked peel naturally then transfer to a processor and add a table spoon crème fraiche and olive oil then season with salt and pepper.”

It’s not only the cooking methods of mashed potato that chefs have been debating recently. Last week cookbook author Harold McGee revealed he believes perfect pasta should be cooked in a frying pan rather than a saucepan.

And earlier this month Mary Berry sent the Internet into a complete meltdown when she suggested adding cream and white wine to a classic Spaghetti Bolognese recipe.

What’s next? Boiling an egg in stock?

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