I'm going to show you how to make a nice creamy, full-of-flavour mashed potato and to feed four people you basically need one potato per person. So that kind of amount will feed four, so roughly 900g.
Now the type of potato I'm using is Maris Piper; you could use Maris, you could use Desiree, you could use King Edward. You want something that's quite floury, that's going to break up when you cook them, nothing waxy. So when it comes to mashing you could use one of these - this is a potato ricer, you get a nice fine result from that but if you don't have one, use the traditional masher, that's what I'm going to use today.
So let's peel the potatoes. Start by removing the skin with a potato peeler and then cut the potatoes into medium, even-sized chunks. This is really important otherwise they all cook at different times. Next place the chunks into a large pan of cold salted water and make sure the pan is large enough to accommodate the potatoes. Then bring them up to the boil, turn it down and simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
OK, so I think the potatoes are nearly ready and a good way to check is just to put a knife in to one of them. When it runs through nice and smoothly with no resistance, just breaks up, they're done. So these are ready and they're ready to drain. Pour them into a colander and allow them to steam for a minute or two to remove any excess moisture. And then return the potatoes back to the pan.
So these potatoes are now ready to mash. It's really important that you put them over a low heat to keep the potatoes from going cold because if they go cold, they go really gluey and starchy. So I'm just going to start mashing them really gently, just to break them up a little. And then what you want to do is just pull them to one side so you've got half the pan of mash and the other half you could top up with butter and your milk.
So now we're going to add butter, push that to the one side that I pushed the potato from and then in with some milk. The milk varies a lot to be honest, you might need more, you might need less; if you need to add more then just a little splash. But you don't want it too runny, you don't want it too stiff.
So the idea is you're warming up the milk and the butter to the point where you can then mix it together. If you were to add cold butter and cold milk to the warm mashed potato, that wants to set and it goes starchy and gluey. OK so the milk and the butter are now warmed and then just simply beat the two together. You don't want to over mash it either because that, again, is going to bring out the starch and make the potato gluey.
So at this point you could add a number of things; grated cheese, crème fraiche, roasted garlic, even mustard, all would taste really, really nice. Right, this is ready to serve up. Piping hot, creamy and really simple; that's classic mashed potato.