4 peeled potatoes for each person you will be serving
1 stick of butter (1/4 or 60 ml) - not margarine!
1 peeled turnip
cream (either real cream, whipping cream, or half and half)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
sea or kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
There are mashed potatoes, and then there are MASHED POTATOES! If you'd like to make the kind that people go nuts over, here is a basic easy recipe that will probably do the trick.
First, decide whether you want to make mashed potatoes that have little bits of the potatoe skin mixed in or not. When you're peeling the potatoes, you'll need to leave some of the peeling intact on them if you want to have it mixed in with the final product. If not - if you want pure white potatoes with no skin, make sure to completely peel the spuds.
While you're peeling, put a large (1 gallon - 4 liter) pot on the stove to bring up to boiling. Fill it only half full of water, though, because the potatoes will take up a lot of room.
After the peeling is done, cut the potatoes in three directions so that the largest pieces will be no thicker than 1 inch (3 cm). Throw all the pieces in the boiling water.
Then peel the single turnip, quarter it, and add it to the pot, too. The turnip is a secret ingredient. People will not be able to taste it, but it makes the potatoes so that they are fluffier.
The boiling time varies, depending on the amount of potatoes you have in the pot. Check them occasionally for doneness by removing a piece and cutting it with a fork. It should cut easily and leave no hard spot in the center. DON'T OVERCOOK THEM! That is the biggest mistake most people make. They'll be "dry" if you do...
When they're cooked, drain them, saving about a cup of the potatoe water for later. Put the pot back on the stove on medium heat and add the stick of butter to melt.
Once the butter is melted, put in 1/4 cup of cream, 1/4 cup of milk, and 1/4 cup of the potatoe water. Then put the drained potatoes into the pot and stir the ingredients together.
Now comes the fun part - get out a potatoe masher and have at it! If you don't have one, you may use a whisk or a spoon. The more you mash, the better. As you work the potatoes, check to see whether you'll need to add any more liquid. If you do, add it in equal proportions - equal parts cream, milk and potatoe water. You do not want to add too much liquid, so do this sparingly - perhaps as little as a tablespoon of each ingredient at a time, stirring between to make sure it is okay. Don't let the potatoes get too soggy!
Somewhere in all that mashing, add the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. When the mashed potatoes are done, they will hopefully still form nice stiff peaks. Put them in a serving bowl that has a lid, and then place a generous pat of butter on top before covering and presenting it to the table.