Last Updated on 11 months by Tim
Potato puree is beloved all across the Western hemisphere. It’s a simple dish that can be surprisingly hard to master. It can be very tricky to achieve the perfect texture and flavor.
Perfect potato puree is creamy smooth with a mild potato and butter taste. It shouldn’t be overly greasy but it shouldn’t be too dry either.
The Building Blocks of German Cusine Series
This article is part of my basics series, which will introduce you to key ingredients and preparation methods. You can find all these articles in the ‘Basics’ category of this blog. Listed below are the articles that have yet been published in this series:
- French Fries (‘Pommes frites’)
- Swabian Pretzels (‘Schwäbische Laugenbrezeln’)
- Kratzete, Eierhaber
- Duchess Potatoes (‘Herzoginnenkartoffeln’)
- Ribbon Noodles (‘Bandnudeln’)
- Muesli (‘Müsli’)
- German Bread Rolls (‘Weizenbrötchen’)
- Potato Puree (‘Kartoffelbrei’)
- German Potato Dumplings Bavaria-style (‘Bayerische Kartoffelknödel’)
- German Potato Dumplings Thuringia-style (‘Thüringer Kartoffelklöse’)
- German Bread Dumplings (‘Semmelknödel’)
- German Potato Pancakes (‘Reibekuchen’)
- Potato Noodles (‘Schupfnudeln’)
- German Boiled Potatoes (‘Kartoffeln’)
- Homemade Beef broth (‘Fleischbrühe’)
- German Pancakes (‘Pfannkuchen’)
- Homemade Semolina Soup Noodles (‘Hartweizen-Suppennudeln’)
- Chicken Broth (‘Hühnerbrühe’)
- Spaetzle (‘Spätzle’)
How I like my potato puree
Some people love their potato puree with loads of butter. But I have to admit, I’m not a fan of greasy potato butter soup. If the puree is too rich you can’t really enjoy much of it. After a few bites, you will feel stuffed.
There certainly is quite a bit of butter in my recipe, but it’s a really reasonable amount. I enjoy mashed potatoes all year round, not just during the holidays. For many German families, potato puree is an everyday dish.
However, that does not mean that the puree is allowed to be chunky. Potato puree should be as smooth as silk. If it’s chunky, it’s called Kartoffelstampf (‘Mashed Potatoes’) in Germany. This is a completely different dish because the texture is incomparable.
In the North of Germany they tend to like ‘Kartoffelstampf’ quite a bit, however, in the South people definitely prefer the smooth puree. So, for this dish, you will need a potato ricer or fine-mesh sieve.
How to cook the perfect potatoes for potato puree
The potatoes need to be cooked skin-on. These are called jacket potatoes in Germany. Skin-on potatoes retain more flavor and remain drier on the inside so that the puree won’t turn out watery.
Peel them while they are still hot and pass them through a potato ricer. Yes, it needs to be a ricer. A masher won’t do. Otherwise, you will never get them smooth.
I don’t use an exhaustive amount of butter so that you won’t need to worry too much about how to add it. Just cut the cold butter into smaller cubes and whisk them into the potato puree.
The heavy cream, which can be substituted with milk, needs to be added at the end. Its task is to adjust the texture of your puree.
How to give your puree the finishing touch
The only spice I use in my potato puree is nutmeg. I guess that is what makes it German. Nutmeg and potato are a food-pairing made in heaven. If you’ve never had potato puree with nutmeg, go ahead and try it. You will be converted for life.
Once your puree is finished, you can pass it through a fine-mesh sieve or tamis. This step is optional, but it gives you a much finer and luxurious texture.
That’s basically it. Simple, right?
I guess it’s unnecessary to tell you what to pair potato puree with. It goes well with all roast and stew meats. But it’s also great with some vegetables and gravy or fish.