Mashed Potatoes, with or Without Chives
Put the cut potatoes into a pot filled with the cold water, bring to a boil, and cook about 20 minutes, or until a fork or a knife pierces the potato chunks easily.
While the potatoes are cooking, put the cream, butter, salt and pepper into a saucepan. Heat the cream until the butter melts, but do not allow the mixture to boil. Keep the mixture warm until you are ready to add it to the potatoes.
When the potatoes are fully cooked, drain in a colander 5 minutes to remove all excess moisture. It is important to rice the potatoes while they are still hot, because cold potatoes will become rubbery and starchy. Fill the ricer no more than half full. Squeeze the hot potatoes through the ricer and into a stainless-steel bowl, being careful that the potatoes do not squeeze out the top of the ricer, which would cause lumps in the mashed potatoes. When all of the potatoes have been riced, stir in the hot cream and butter mixture, using a wooden spoon to incorporate the seasoning, cream and butter fully into the potatoes. If you like, add the chopped chives. Serve promptly. If the mashed potatoes must be held a few minutes, keep them warm in a double boiler or in a bowl wrapped with plastic wrap and placed over hot water.
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