I’m a comfort food type of person. While I can fully appreciate a gourmet meal, there is just something to be said about those “simple” foods that taste like home. But simple doesn’t have to mean boring.
Despite how popular potatoes are across Europe, just like tomatoes, they are actually native to South America. Like so many other ingredients, they made their way to different locations around the world due to travelers and trade. In many cultures, potatoes were scoffed at initially because they were considered to be a “poor man’s food”. Though potatoes have still not gained elite status like something such as caviar, I’m not complaining. I kind of like not having to pay the price of gold for something so delicious!
Today, potatoes are experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Multiple colors, textures, flavors, and sizes are now available for both purchase at the grocery store as well as for growing in one’s garden. Though I have mastered the art of having potatoes sprout in my refrigerator (completely unintended!), I haven’t quite made the progress I would like with actually getting them to grow in the ground. Oh well. Thank goodness for grocery stores!
Growing up, mashed potatoes were not an infrequent side dish at dinner. My mom used a rather unusual ingredient compared to most recipes. Instead of regular milk, cream, or half-and-half, she would use evaporated milk. Not the sweetened condensed milk, that’s a completely different substance! It adds a slightly different taste to the potatoes that’s more complex than plain cream, and it doesn’t water down your dish like regular milk would.
This particular recipe is based on another one I’ve posted before, but adds a little extra flair with the addition of fresh garlic and rosemary. I know many people may opt for garlic powder for convenience, but I have come to the realization that I have a food intolerance to it! No big loss, really. The flavor of fresh garlic sauteed in butter is far better anyway! The resulting flavor is rich and flavorful and worthy of being served with the fanciest of meals.
Some quick notes before you begin:
You will want to select the proper potatoes. Not all are best for mashing. Aim for varieties like Russet or Yukon Gold. They have the best composition for fluffy mashed potatoes.
This recipe is perfect for the freezer, so make as big of a batch as you want and freeze extras for later. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven in a covered oven-proof dish.
Trust me on the evaporated milk. The low moisture content will ensure that you don’t end up with watery potatoes like you would with regular milk. Using heavy cream just creates heavy potatoes that lack flavor. Even half-and-half doesn’t fix the flavor issue. Evaporated milk has a little bit of a caramelized flavor that really boosts the taste of your overall product.
Fresh garlic and rosemary are musts for this. Don’t try to follow this recipe with dried versions of those ingredients. Sauteeing the dried spices in butter will only burn them. Not good.
Be sure to keep an eye on your potatoes. They have a tendency of foaming up while boiling which can overflow the pot. You also want to catch them at the right point where they are “fork tender” but not mush. You can also avoid this by not cutting your potatoes into too small of chunks.
The pictures I used show a double recipe. The process and proportions are otherwise the same.
Garlic & Rosemary Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 2 pounds potatoes like Russet or Yukon, or a mixture, cut into chunks, peeling optional
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (or more if you really like garlic)
- 2 to 3 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary, or more to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Put your cut potatoes into a large pot and add cold water just until they are completely submerged. Place the pot on the stove set to high and bring to a boil. You can partially cover the pot, but watch for foaming over! Once the water is boiling, only reduce the heat as needed to prevent it from boiling over. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients.
Once the potatoes are soft enough to be pierced easily by a fork, remove the pot from the heat. It usually takes 15 – 20 minutes or so to reach this stage. Drain the water from the potatoes and set them aside. The water is great for watering plants with once it cools, so don’t toss it!
Place the pot back on the stove and set to medium heat. Put the butter in the pot and allow it to melt. Be careful not to let it scorch. Add the garlic and rosemary and gently heat for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant. Add the smaller amount of the evaporated milk and stir together for a minute more.
Add the drained potatoes to the pot and mash them. You want to make sure you are getting all the contents mixed. Add in the remaining milk until you have your preferred consistency. Add salt and pepper as desired, but keep in mind the flavors will gradually intensify. Enjoy!