Okay, first we need to talk about this whole “rustic” thing. When I say rustic, I don’t mean lumpy and suspicious. I don’t mean unwashed and gritty.
Nope, I mean full-bodied and full of character.
The thing I love about these rustic mashed potatoes is that it’s an interactive eating experience. We aren’t peeling the spuds and we aren’t mashing the dickens out of them. And those potato skins…those chunks of un-mashed potato…the tang of boiled garlic…it’s all pretty spectacular and deeply satisfying.
Since I mentioned the garlic in that last paragraph, let me give you a bit more narrative. If you look at other “rustic” mashed potato recipes you will often find the suggestion to use roasted garlic. The basic approach for roasting garlic is to peel off a layer or two of the papery outer skin of the garlic head without disassembling the whole thing. Then slice off the top of the head, exposing the ends of the cloves. Drizzle the heads of garlic with olive oil, wrap them together in foil, and place on a baking sheet. Then, bake them in the oven at 400-degrees for about 40 minutes.
You can absolutely do all of that and add it to this recipe with incredible results. Or, you can do what I do and just drop a bunch of peeled cloves in the pot of boiling water along with the potatoes. Cooking the garlic this way brings out a wonderful, nutty flavor, and it’s a heck of a lot easier than roasting.
As you may have noticed from my Mom’s potato salad recipe, I like chunky potatoes. That’s why I prefer to use an old-fashioned hand masher instead of an electric mixer. You’re welcome to opt for a more smooth texture, of course. We’re all free to learn from our mistakes…
So, there you go. A homey, satisfying, rustic mashed potato experience that will prove absolutely perfect as a plate buddy to some juicy pork chops. If you find yourself starting to dress a bit like Daniel Boone as a result of this recipe, you’re welcome!
- 5 lbs russet potatoes, cut into large chunks with the skin on (red or Yukon Gold potatoes are also excellent, but I was raised on russets)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled (we’re gonna add whole cloves to the water with the potatoes)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Get a big stock pot, and put those rough-cut, rustic, unpeeled potatoes into it. Cover with water and boil the spuds until they are just soft enough to easily jab with a fork (about 30 minutes). When you’ve got about 10 minutes left on the potatoes, drop the peeled cloves of garlic into the boiling water.
- As soon as they’re done, drain the potatoes and garlic to keep all that starch from getting an unpleasant, sticky texture.
- Add the butter to the pot and let it get all melty. Pour in the heavy cream, salt, and pepper.
- Use a potato masher to (duh) mash the potatoes garlic and mix in the butter and cream. Now, you can go for a smooth, creamy consistency…but we like to keep the potatoes a bit chunky. It goes with that whole rustic thing.
- Serve with more butter and some chopped fresh chives.