Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 6 cups
Dietary guidance: v v
3 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
salt and freshly milled pepper
4 to 8 tbsp butter or olive oil
about 1 cup milk, cream, buttermilk, or cooking water, warmed
pinch grated nutmeg
Don't peel the potatoes.
Put the potatoes in large saucepan, cover with cold water, add 2 teaspoons salt, and boil until tender, 15 to 30 minutes depending on size. Remove the potatoes from the water, reserving the water for soup, bread or thinning the potatoes. Holding the potatoes in a towel, peel them, then break them into chunks and mash with an old-fashioned potato masher, a hand-held mixer, a food mill with large holes, or a ricer. Beat in as much butter as you want to use. Gradually beat in the warm liquid until the potatoes are smooth, moist, and light. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Best to serve them right away. If can't, hold them in a double boiler or a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and covered loosely with foil.