Yes, I know…potatoes are a starch, not really a vegetable. But living in the heart of potato country doesn’t really allow for eliminating potatoes as a staple ingredient, especially when you can get 300 pounds of fresh russets for free each fall! Besides, I grew up on potatoes and they are the ultimate comfort food for our family, so we just had to find a way to make them a little better on the waistline! 🙂
My mother works for a potato processing plant. As part of her position in research and development, she works to develop new flavors for the instant mashed potatoes marketed by the company. Because of this, she knows how to make potatoes taste their very best. The flavor in this recipe comes from her expertise (which we enjoy EVERY Thanksgiving!) and the skinny adaptations were made by me. You might have heard by now of the different variations on substituting cauliflower for potatoes. I first decided to try it on my family about a year ago. As they were happily devouring their plates full of comfort food, I asked them how they liked the potatoes. They answered by scooping another forkful into their mouths and giving me some “Mmmhmm” mumbles. I took that to mean they were good.
At the risk of ruining a good thing, I asked my kids if they could taste my secret ingredient. That got their attention! They were a little more tentative with the next bite, but they still couldn’t find anything different about it. I finally admitted to the substitution of cauliflower for half of the potatoes…they had no idea! Now, every time I make mashed spuds, my oldest daughter asks me if it’s my secret ingredient recipe. 🙂
Low fat milk and minimal butter help to lighten up the favorite recipe even more. Traditionally, the butter would be doubled and the milk would be full-fat, but I can’t taste a difference. Scalding the milk is essential to bring out all the flavors, and the liberal use of salt (though not recommended on a regular basis in all your foods) is essential when serving potatoes. Now, how many of you have ever actually enjoyed “dry” mashed potatoes?
Before I learned my mom’s secret, we had to have gravy for mashed spuds to even be edible, they were so dry and bland. But let me tell you…these babies shine on their own, and the addition of gravy only overpowers the beautiful flavor of the spuds. Don’t believe me? Dare you to try it. 😉 Let us know in the comments how you like it!