Influenced by our Eastern European heritage, my family eats a lot of potatoes. Mashed is the favorite treatment, and the dish always includes an unapologetic amount of butter, milk, and the “secret” ingredient, sour cream. The tang of these mashers pairs well with dishes like meatloaf, pot roast, and beef stew.
Special equipment: A potato ricer is invaluable when mashing spuds—it creates a consistency unattainable with a regular potato masher.
1Peel potatoes, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks, and place in a large pot. Immediately add cold water to cover the potatoes by at least 2 inches and enough salt so that the water tastes like seawater.
2Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork and just begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes.
3Drain potatoes in a colander and let sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in the pot used to cook the potatoes, warm the butter and 3/4 cup of the milk over medium heat until the mixture is hot and the butter has melted. Remove from heat.
4Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer and into the milk mixture. Fold in the sour cream until evenly combined and smooth, being careful not to overwork the potatoes. If the potatoes are too thick, add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.