Mashed potato (British English) or mashed potatoes (American English and Canadian English), colloquially known as mash, is a dish prepared by mashing boiled potatoes. Cream, garlic and butter are frequently used in preparation. The dish is commonly associated within the United States with holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. In Canada and the UK, the dish is enjoyed throughout the year. Recipes started appearing in 1747 with an entry in The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse. Dehydrated and frozen mashed potatoes are available in many supermarkets.
The use of "floury" types of potatoes is recommended, although "waxy" potatoes are sometimes used for a different texture. There are a multitude of "floury" types, but the most commonly known include russet, golden wonder, and red rascal potatoes. Butter, vegetable oil, milk and/or cream are usually added to improve flavour and texture, and the potatoes are seasoned with salt, pepper, and any other desired herbs and spices. Popular ingredients and seasonings include: garlic, cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, crisp onion or spring onion, caramelised onion, mustard, horseradish, spices such as nutmeg, and chopped herbs such as parsley.
One French variation adds egg yolk for pommes duchesse or Duchess potatoes; piped through a pastry tube into wavy ribbons and rosettes, brushed with butter and lightly browned. Pomme purée (potato puree) uses considerably more butter than normal mashed potato - up to two parts potato for one part butter. In low-calorie or non-dairy variations, milk, cream and butter may be replaced by soup stock or broth. Aloo Bharta, an Indian sub-continent variation, uses chopped onions, mustard (oil, paste or seeds), chili pepper, coriander leaves and other spices.
A plate of sausage and mashed potatoes, with cabbage and onion gravy, commonly known as 'bangers and mash'
Mashed potato can be served as a side dish, and is often served with sausages in the British Isles, where they are known as bangers and mash. Mashed potato can be an ingredient of various other dishes, including shepherd's and cottage pie, pierogi, colcannon, dumplings, potato pancakes, potato croquettes and gnocchi. Particularly runny mashed potatoes are called mousseline potatoes.
In the United Kingdom, the cold mashed potato is mixed with fresh eggs and then fried until crisp to produce the potato cake. This dish is thought to have originated in Cornwall and is a popular breakfast item. When instead combined with meat and other leftover vegetables, the fried dish is known as bubble and squeak.
A popular accompaniment to mashed potatoes in the United States is gravy. The most common forms of gravy paired with mashed potatoes are turkey and beef gravy, though vegetable gravy is becoming more common as the vegetarian and vegan trends see a rise in popularity.
A potato masher is a utensil which can be used to prepare the potatoes, as is a potato ricer. They may also be whipped with an electric hand mixer, or with sufficient boiling, can be mashed effectively with a durable wooden spoon and brute force.
The most simple way to prepare the dish is to peel the potatoes and cut them into medium sized chunks. These chunks are then boiled for 20–30 minutes, and drained. While the potatoes are boiling, melt butter in a pan and add desired flavor aspects such as minced garlic, salt, chives, bacon, etc. Adding the flavorings to the butter or cream as it melts and simmers ensures even distribution of flavor once mixed with the boiled potatoes. Next, the melted butter and/or cream and flavorings are poured slowly into the boiled potatoes, and mashed together. It is important to add these elements slowly, as adding too much too quickly can lead to runny or watery mashed potatoes. Ideally, the potatoes are creamy enough to be easily stirred, but firm enough to hold shape and peaks.
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The dictionary definition of mashed potato at Wiktionary