For our smashed potato recipe, we were after chunks of potato bound by a rich, creamy puree. Red Bliss potatoes were the best choice for smashing since their compact structure held up well under pressure. Wanting a tangy yet creamy substanc...
Serves 4 to 6
1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with 1 inch cold water; add 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until paring knife can be inserted into potatoes with no resistance, 35 to 45 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain potatoes. Return potatoes to pot, discard bay, and allow potatoes to stand in pot, uncovered, until surfaces are dry, about 5 minutes.
2. While potatoes dry, whisk melted butter and softened cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth and fully incorporated. Add 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, chives (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula or back of wooden spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break skins. Fold in butter/cream cheese mixture until most of liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain. Add more cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed, until potatoes are slightly looser than desired (potatoes will thicken slightly with standing). Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper; serve immediately.
TO MAKE AHEAD: The potatoes are best made just before serving, though see the related Quick Tip for a suggestion on how to hold mashed potatoes.
TO DOUBLE: The Smashed Potatoes recipe and variation can easily be doubled to serve 8 to 12. To accommodate the increased volume, you will need to cook the potatoes in a Dutch oven or stockpot instead of the specified saucepan. Depending on pot size, the cooking time will increase by 5 to 10 minutes.