In theory mashed potatoes are very simple. You boil some potatoes, drain, then mix with a bit of cream and butter. But then somewhere along the line, something happens and you end up with a gummy mess. How did you get here? What do you do?
You probably got here in a couple different ways.
Mistake #1: The first and most widely abused way is by over working the potatoes. By putting them in something like a food processor, you will more than likely turn them into goo because of the amount of starch that they release. Try gently putting the potatoes through a food mill or gently mash them with a hand masher before stirring in the butter and cream.
Mistake #2: An incredibly easy mistake is to forget about the potatoes and over cook them in the water. The water seeps into the potatoes and they release more starch becoming gummy even before mixing them. Try draining the potatoes and then placing in the oven for about 10 minutes to dry them out a bit.
Well, what happens if you didn’t know about these above steps and you now have gummy mashed potatoes? For starters, throw out the idea you can salvage them as actual mashed potatoes. You are going to need to switch it up to something else. Think more along the lines of a casserole. Mix in a couple eggs and pour into a buttered casserole dish and place in the oven for 30 minutes. But don’t stop there, add fun toppings and fillings so it looks like this was your game plan all along.
Cheddar Cheese + Crumbled Bacon
Parmesan Cheese + Fried Onions
Goat Cheese + Caramelized Onions
Cheddar + Parmesan + Melted butter
Sour Cream + Chives + Bacon
Goat Cheese + Tarragon
Monterey Jack Cheese + Pickled Jalapeños + Cilantro
So the next time you find yourself in a gummy situation, don’t panic and just make a casserole!