Mashed potatoes are supremely important in my family. They must be creamy and buttery, with a thickness suitable for making potato mountains and volcanoes. Growing up, every holiday dinner included perfect mashed potatoes – well, except that one year when one of my aunts dared to make fake mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. Her name still lives in infamy since someone still brings up that story – every single year.
So, how can anyone hope to live up to the “perfect mashed potatoes” standard with lactose intolerance? For many years, I didn’t know. I tried every way I could think of to substitute the dairy. Using margarine for the butter was easy, but the milk proved more difficult; soy, almond, and rice milk all yielded a nasty tasting mess that closely resembled wallpaper paste – or something from Dagobah’s swamp. No one, including me, wanted to eat that stuff. But just when all hope seemed lost, I discovered the secret in a random Food Network article: chicken broth.
Now, according to one of my friends who is familiar with Weight Watchers, this trick has been around for some time. But since I didn’t know about it, I’m guessing others don’t either, and so I dub this topic worthy of a post. Get ready for some awesome potatoes!
First, I’m going to start with six small russet potatoes. I’m only making this for two people, but we like leftovers. I peel each potato, rinse it off, and cut it into small pieces. Then the potato pieces go into a pot of boiling, salted water. This method also works for red and yellow potatoes, and you don’t have to peel them.
Boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to mash. Then strain them in your favorite colander.
Master Note: “Careful You Must Be, When Using Margarine”
This is where the non-dairy fun begins! But margarine can be a tricky substance to use. If you’re lactose intolerant, you need to be aware that the majority of margarines have whey in them. When butter is churned, it separates into cream (which is mostly fat) and whey (which is mostly water and lactose). Whey might seem harmless, but it can contain a high amount of lactose, which can make you sick. So read the labels and check for whey. I’m currently using Blue Bonnet Light and Smart Balance, and they seem to work well (and they don’t even pay me for saying that). If whey is not a problem for you, my favorite margarine is Imperial.
Another concern with margarine is the difference between tub margarine and stick margarine. Tub margarine is typically lower in trans fats and has a higher water content, which is why it can’t hold its own shape and has to hang out in a tub. I’ve found it pretty useless for everything except giving me soggy toast in the morning. The only exception to this is Smart Balance margarine, which behaves just like butter. So unless you’re using Smart Balance, use stick margarine. You’ll be happier with the results.
Finishing the Job
Now that you’ve chosen the correct margarine, you can finish your awesome non-dairy potatoes! Throw the margarine in the pot and let it melt a little before adding the potatoes. For my batch, I used a whole stick of margarine. Then mash the potatoes.
Now, add the same amount of chicken broth as you would milk. For my batch, I used about 1/3 of a cup of broth. Mix it in with the mashed potatoes.
This is a great time to add some extra flavor to the mix. You can always just add a little extra salt and serve the potatoes plain, but sometimes it’s fun to add some spice. Today I used Lawry’s seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder and parsley. To me this blend tastes like KFC potatoes – but it’s been a looooong time since I’ve had them since they contain a lot of dariy. Other great seasoning blends are:
- Garlic powder, basil, sea salt
- Sea salt, thyme, rosemary, oregano
- Lawry’s seasoned salt, black pepper, dill
The possibilities are endless! Just make sure to match your spices with your main course.
How did these potatoes turn out for you? Do you have another cooking method that you use? I would love to hear about your experience!
May the Force be with you!
– Master NoMoo