The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Easy Mashed potato (no lumps guaranteed)

potato ricer gadgetWhere would I be without my potato ricer? If Danny makes mashed potato he pounds away with an old fashioned potato masher. I used to do the same and however long I spent, there were always lumps. D was polite and ate them but I always felt that secretly he was thinking that his were far better. And they were.

Rising to the challenge, I secretly asked around for a solution. Some friends used a masher, some took this a step further. They mashed and then applied an electric whisk to the pot. Additions of butter, milk and cream were complex extra instructions. My head whirled. Just one friend was succinct, “I use a ricer.”

What on earth was a “ricer”? She slid open a drawer to reveal an implement that looked like a enormous garlic press. A ricer works on the same principle as a garlic press. Just bung in boiled potatoes and press. The end result is a pile of worm-like mounds of fluffy, airy potatoes. Butter, milk, olive oil, cheese or whatever you want can be folded through the worms and within seconds you have a perfect lump free mash.

I whizzed home and found Danny.
“I’ve probably discovered the solution to my lumpy mashed potatoes.”
He immediately turned from the screen.
“We have to get something called a ricer.”
Danny volunteered to go to the John Lewis kitchen department the next day and by six in the evening I was examining a sturdy ricer as a large pan of spuds simmered on the hob.

It’s easier to use than a garlic press. Cooked potatoes are softer than a garlic clove and our ricer is a precision instrument. It makes great mashed potatoes without the possibility of sustaining repetitive strain injury. We checked around and have found a similar potato ricer here. And I’ve recently found the Original Gefu Potato Press here. The latter is a must for kitchen equpment freaks!

Tricks and tips:

  • Mashed potato keeps warm in a low oven for quite a while. I put it in a large dish, cover it with a couple of butter papers and top everything with tight fitting aluminium foil. If you don’t have butter papers rub a little olive oil onto the underside of the foil.
  • If you’d like mash with a crispy top. Fork the surface, scatter tiny nuggets of butter and/or cheese over the top and pop under a pre-heated hot grill for 2-3 minutes before serving.

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  1. Also saves bothering with all the palavar of skinning tomatoes….dump the finished article into the device; turn the handle…Simples

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Wobbly

    I have a mouli legume. I use it for making apple puree. I never thought of using it for mash. Thanks for the tip!

  3. I think the French actually use a device called a “Mouli legume”. My French godmother had one. Essentially it had curved sloping blunt blade that forced the veg cooked or raw through an interchangeable set of grids grates and sieves. three adjustable rubber faced legs attached it to the bowl and the crank handle was turned. Her mashed potato had the puree consistency you describe. If you are using Moulinex to describe the mouli legume than please excuse this message. sorry drool now entering keyboard with memories of the mash….

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi urbanyearners

    Up late (happily) making quince jelly with the last of a giant haul that I found in Cambridge market. Still have some japonica quinces waiting on the sidelines to be turned into membrillo.

    Yes, the ricer is a cottage saint. In a panicky last minute moment, I have used it with ripe strawberries and it worked.

    I think that a Moulinex features large in the French kitchen, as far as potatoes are concerned. Deliciously different.

  5. urbanyearners

    Oooh, I love these ricers. I inherited my mother’s and used it every time I wanted mashed tatties until I put it in the dishwasher one day and the metal went a strange mottled colour. I never used it again, fearing that some strange chemical process on what I suspected was aluminium would bring on the early onset of Alzheimer’s. I was superbly lazy with mine before I ruined it. I never even peeled the potatoes first – they’d go through, even with the skin on. There’s a time-saving tip for you! Paul makes splendid mash with admirable energy but I think I might get another and see if I can convert him to the easy way…

    Have you noticed how differently French mashed potato tastes? It’s more like a puree…delicious. I think they like to use a Moulinex for theirs, with a particularly waxy type of tatty.

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