December 11, 2023   3:53pm

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Mashed potatoes are one of my weaknesses, and my sister-in-law Francoise le Gall Balkind (the French do know food) makes the best I’ve ever tasted …



Francoise’s Mashed Potatoes

  • About 2 lbs. baking potatoes (figure 1 potato per adult) cut into good-sized cubes, say 2″
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper (optional)
  • 3 to 4 Tbs. unsalted butter (more if you like) or margarine (if absolutely necessary)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk (skim milk will not do!)

1. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan in cold water (add a pinch of salt). Bring to boil and simmer about 20-25 minutes until tender, but not too mushy (otherwise, you end up with glue!).

2. Drain the potatoes and return them for two-three minutes to the saucepan over the lowest heat in order to get all the water out of the potatoes (without burning them). The drier the potatoes, the fluffier the mashed potatoes.

3. Break the potatoes down with a potato masher (which is what I do) or even better, put them through a potato ricer. A big fork will also work.

4. Heat (but do not boil) the milk in a small saucepan.

5. Put the partially mashed potatoes in a mixing bowl and mash again, this time with a hand beater until there are no lumps.

6. Add the milk to the desired consistency (the potatoes can take quite a lot) and butter, and season with salt (and pepper).

Pay attention to these tricks:

The tricks my brother taught me are to:

a) put the potatoes in cold water and then bring to a boil

b) return the potatoes to the saucepan over low heat and give them an “initial mash”

c) mash again with a beater

d) don’t skimp on the milk and butter (in that case, it’s better to do without mashed potatoes).

And if you prefer to have your potatoes wear “jackets”:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Oil skin of potatoes (1 per adult) with vegetable oil and place on baking sheet in oven for about 25 minutes.

3. Take out potatoes and pierce them here and there so as to allow the steam to escape. Put the potatoes back in the oven for another 25-35 minutes (a fork should be able to pierce the potatoes very easily and the flesh of the potatoes should be flaky).

4. Cut the potatoes in half and spoon out their flesh into a large bowl. Make mashed potatoes (see previous recipe).

5. Spoon the mashed potatoes into the skins. Top with a dab of butter or margarine, and sprinkle with grated Gruyère or Emmenthal or Parmesan.

6. Heat potato boats in 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes.

Note: Can be prepared ahead of time through Step 5. Simply cover and store in refrigerator. Bring the potato boats to room temperature and then heat as in Step 6.

I hope that you and your readers will enjoy these potatoes!


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