These decadent potatoes make an ideal pairing with the holiday bird and trimmings. A ricer, an inexpensive kitchen tool, makes exceptionally light and smooth mashed potatoes that are perfect for special occasions. You can smoosh the potatoes with a more common potato masher and leave a few lumps, if you wish. Either way, they’ll taste divine.

  • 3 to 3¼ pounds well-scrubbed russet or other large baking potatoes, peeled
  • 1½ tablespoons or more salt, to taste
  • 1¾ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 6 to 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Freshly milled black pepper

Serves 8

  1. Combine potatoes in large pan with 1½ tablespoons salt and water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook until quite tender; 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. (Potatoes take longer to cook at higher altitudes.) When done, the exteriors of potatoes should be crumbly, almost dissolving in spots.While potatoes cook, warm milk over low heat in small pan deep enough to prevent milk from bubbling over as it heats. When milk is hot, remove it from heat and stir in sour cream.
  2. When potatoes are ready, drain and return to still-hot pan, cover with clean, folded dishtowel, and place lid back on pan. Towel will absorb steam, making potatoes drier. Let potatoes sit covered about 5 minutes. While potatoes are still very hot, mash or rice them back into pan.
  3. Stir warm milk into potatoes, then add butter a few tablespoons at a time, as much as your conscience allows. Season with pepper and, if you wish, with extra salt. Serve piping hot.

Adapted from American Home Cooking, © 1999 Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison