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The Most Luxurious Potatoes on Earth

Our version of Chef Joël Robuchon’s famous ultrasilky, ultrabuttery pommes puree may just be the best mashed potatoes you will ever eat.
By Published Oct. 31, 2022

A few months ago, I found myself roaming the office looking for a three p.m. snack. In the test kitchen, I came upon a still-warm bowl of mashed potatoes left out for anyone to eat.

I took a bite.

The potatoes were astonishingly smooth. Wonderfully creamy. And absurdly buttery.

They were . . . The. Best. Mashed. Potatoes. I. Have. Ever. Had.

I quickly took to our company-wide chat and demanded to know who had made them and what they were.

 The answer? 

Robuchon potatoes, the ultimate example of Pommes Purée.

In other words, the most luxurious potatoes on earth.

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The recipe, developed by Cook’s Illustrated Senior Editor Steve Dunn, was inspired by Parisian chef Joël Robuchon.

In the 1980s, Robuchon transformed basic pommes puree into something sublimely silky and rich. But his efforts were painstaking. 

To ensure every speck of starch made it into the mash, he boiled potatoes in their skins and peeled them hot. Next, he passed the spuds through a food mill. Then, he beat one whole pound of cold butter into the mash with a spoon for 10 minutes to keep the fat emulsified. To finish, he stirred in milk and passed the potatoes through an ultrafine sieve.

Steve wanted an equally glorious mash that didn’t involve all that laborious milling, beating, and sieving of the potatoes. 

Here is how we made them easier:

1. Use butter and milk as the cooking liquid

Steve boils peeled potatoes in this liquid and then saves it to use in the mash. The potato starch that sloughs off during boiling helps the butter to emulisfy, creating a smooth, silky result.

2. Mill potatoes with the fine disk of a food mill

Steve mills the drained potatoes straight into the reserved milky-buttery cooking liquid (kept warm on the stove). We achieve pillowy-soft results with just the mill so that we can skip the sieve.

3. Whisk potatoes and cooking liquid together

All of the starch in the mix means that there's no need to beat the potatoes for 10 minutes to emulsify them. Instead, Steve simply whisks the potatoes and their cooking liquid until smooth, which only takes a few seconds.

The result is a velvety-smooth, almost-pourable puree that tastes fabulously rich. (It’s no wonder we recommend serving just a small dollop.)

These potatoes are so incredibly good that I implore you to try them.

How to Make Pommes Purêe, the Most Luxurious Potatoes on Earth

  1. Peel and cut 2 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Place potatoes in strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear. Set aside to drain.
  2. Heat 2½ sticks unsalted butter, 1⅓ cups milk, and 1 teaspoon salt in large saucepan over low heat until butter has melted. Add potatoes, increase heat to medium-low, and cook until liquid just starts to boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and gently simmer until paring knife can be slipped into and out of centers of potatoes with no resistance, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  3. Drain potatoes in fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Wipe out saucepan. Return liquid to saucepan and place over low heat. 
  4. Set food mill fitted with finest disk over saucepan. Working in batches, transfer potatoes to hopper and process. Using whisk, recombine potatoes and cooking liquid until smooth, 10 to 15 seconds. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.


Watch Steve cook through his recipe.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.