Porcini Mushroom Mashed Potatoes

I make mashed potatoes fairly often, and usually I keep it simple with garlic, butter, salt, and cream. Sometimes I cook the potatoes in chicken broth, or mix it up with add-is like chives and sour cream or roasted garlic. For Friendsgiving dinner this past weekend, I accidentally ended up making something new, which actually came out very tasty. I wanted to avoid using chicken bullion to make the dish vegetarian, since I wasn’t sure if everyone at the potluck would eat meat), and I’m running out of the mushroom Better than Bullion that I usually use in these situations, so I picked up some dried porcini mushrooms. My plan was to use the mushrooms to subtly flavor the cooking water for the potatoes and then go with a chive and sour cream flavor profile, but the flavor from the mushrooms was so strong and delicious in the cooked potatoes that I shifted gears and decided to add chopped porcinis into the mashed potatoes to honor that ingredient. I thought it gave the dish a bit of a potatoes and gravy taste, without actually having gravy. It was an accidental creation, but I will definitely make it again!
For the mashed potatoes, I used: 
  • 2 1-oz packages of dried porcini mushrooms (I used Urbani mushrooms which were on sale at Eataly last week)
  • 5 lbs. of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces (about 6 or 8 pieces per potato) 
  • About 4 or 5 oz. of good salted butter – I used Ploughgate Creamery cultured butter that I got at Eataly when I picked up the mushrooms. It’s worth it to use good butter – there are so few ingredients in the dish, so the extra flavor in each one helps
  • About a pint or maybe a little less of heavy cream
  • Two tablespoons of crème fraiche
  • Kosher salt
This made the perfect amount for a potluck event, making a deep casserole dish brimming with creamy potatoes. 
To start, I simmered the mushrooms in a large stockpot of water with some salt for about 30 minutes, until the mushrooms were very tender and the water had a rich flavor. I removed, chopped, then set aside the mushrooms.
I simmered the potatoes until very tender. I reserved about two cups of the cooking water, then drained the potatoes. I pressed the cooked potato chunks through a ricer (makes for fluffy potatoes without overworking) back into the stock pot, along with a few tablespoons of the butter.
I poured in some of the cream and some of the reserved cooking liquid, then used a potato masher to gently combine everything. I continued to add butter, cream, and cooking liquid until they were the right texture – creamy, and just a little thinner than I wanted them to turn out eventually. I folded in about three quarters of the chopped porcinis, the crème fraiche, and some kosher salt, to taste. Finally, I poured the mix into the casserole, heated at 350F for about 15 or 20 minutes, and then they were ready to put into an insulated case and take to the party.
Porcini Mashed Potatoes

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