Wheelhouse Mashed Potatoes

AKA “Atheist Mashed Potatoes.” Because I don’t believe in Gravy.

That’s not quite true. The truth is I don’t make very good gravy, have never gotten the knack of it. So I decided to make mashed potatoes that are so good you don’t need gravy. And then I go out and buy gravy in a jar anyway. Because the secret to happiness is picking your battles, and knowing when to throw in the towel and buy gravy at the store.

These mashed potatoes came about from an episode of Iron Chef we saw when The Knucklehead was maybe 5. This was the old dubbed-over original Japanese Iron Chef, not the new American version. It was oddly addictive for both of us, we’d watch it whenever we could. If you haven’t seen it, each night two chefs would face off against each other, each cooking a meal in real time to be served to a panel of judges. Each episode had a different key ingredient the dishes had to be based around. So the mashed potatoes came from the “Potato Battle” episode.

(Digression: it was on a different episode of this show that we were introduced to squid ink ice cream. It was the “Squid Battle,” and when the judges tasted the ice cream, two of them talked about it like it was actually A Thing, something they’d sampled before. Knucks turned to me and said “Let’s try that.” I was pretty sure we wouldn’t find it at Friendly’s so from then on, every time we visited a major American city, we’d go to the local Asian section of town and hunt for squid ink ice cream. We looked in Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC, Pike’s Market, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and every other city we visited. Never found it. Got a lot of strange looks, but never found it. Anyway….)

That’s where I learned to put cream in my mashed potatoes instead of milk, and I’ve never looked back.

For my mashed potatoes, I scrub and halve red potatoes and bring them unpeeled to a boil in a big tub of water. Unpeeled is key; the skins contain a lot of nutrients, and add great texture to the finished potatoes.* Let them boil for, I don’t know, 25 minutes or so. Until they’re soft. Drain the water, put the potatoes back in the pot (off the heat) and add:

Some light cream,

Some butter,

Some Magic Dust,

Some chopped parsley.

I don’t know how much, that depends on how many potatoes you boiled. Start with what you think is too little cream, and start mashing it all up with a potato masher. It’s a lot easier to add more cream (or milk) than it is more potatoes, so after you’ve got a good mashing going add more cream until you have a consistency you like. Easy on the Magic Dust; you don’t necessarily want to make them spicy, just a few shakes to embolden the spuds. If you want to you can add parmesan cheese. I’ve never added bacon bits, but I suppose you could do that if you wanted to. Why not?

The reason you want to mash the potatoes in the pot you boiled them in is that the pot will still be hot, so you can just slam the lid on and they’ll stay hot until the rest of the meal is ready.

The Knucklehead once paid me the finest compliment a chef can receive. “Dad,” he said, “mashed potatoes are your wheelhouse.” Hence, the name.


*Alright, fine, I originally left the peels on out of laziness. Happy?

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