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The potato ricer from Kuhn Rikon.
The potato ricer from Kuhn Rikon.

Earlier this week I made mashed potatoes as a surprise for my husband.  He’s your typical meat and potatoes guy.  In fact he calls himself a “meatatarian.”  So to accompany some pork chops I prepared mashed potatoes using a funny looking tool called a potato ricer.  He was pretty happy and I have to admit:  I love mashed potatoes. 

But let me tell you a little bit about this interesting kitchen tool.  About 11 years ago I was reading a magazine article that talked about obtaining the best consistency for mashed potatoes by using a potato ricer.  No more big lumps or gluey texture.  I promptly headed off to my nearest kitchen supply store and found a potato ricer for about $20.
Now the one that I use has these very long handles, which can make things a little difficult for pushing the cooked potato through the metal disk with the holes in it.  It does deliver the wonderful bits of potato that can be gently mashed into potato perfection, but it does tap into your upper body strength (or lack of it).
Just recently, I stumbled across a great LA Times article in which staff writer, Leslie Brenner writes quite eloquently about the benefits of Kuhn Rikon’s potato ricer.  She tested one from Oxo as well and found the former to be much easier to use.  Just taking a quick look at the photo, you can see that the handles are shorter and it also has a storage place to hold the disks.  I’m always misplacing mine.
Her article includes a fantastic recipe based upon an original recipe by well-known French chef, Joel Rubochon for mashed potato puree with fresh, black truffles.  I think it may be worth trying especially with the holidays approaching.
Here’s some food for thought, the next time mashed potatoes are on your menu consider using Yukon Golds or thin-skinned red potatoes.  Along with Russets these two varieties are wonderful mashed.  In fact, the Yukon Golds have such a wonderful buttery taste, I think you can cut down on the butter and keep the ingredients simple by adding just warmed milk, butter, fresh ground black pepper and a little coarse salt to taste.  I may have to run to the store to pick up some of those (along with steak) for tonight’s dinner!
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