hamburger gravy

Hamburger Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

The basis of this dish is something that my mother made when I was growing up.  I always enjoyed it, and I've made it many times myself.  My mom usually made it with jarred gravy and boxed mashed potatoes, and when you've worked a full shift and have to feed two small boys, I can understand why you would.  But I've been going through the recipes I remember best from my childhood and trying to remake them without processed ingredients.  I'm really happy with how this turned out.

The basic recipe is more or less a deconstructed shepard's pie (or cottage pie, really, since it uses beef instead of lamb).  That hadn't really ever occured to me until I made it this time.  Maybe it makes it a little bit classier?  This is still more or less classic midwestern comfort food, but that's what I am usually most at home making.


I'm a pretty poor blogger, and every time I make something, it occurs to me after I've sat down and eaten that I should have taken a few photos.  So, the only thing I've got is a cell phone photo of my bowl right before I eat it all.  If this at all appeals to you, believe me: it tasted much better than it looked.

Hamburger Gravy and Mashed Potatoes
1 medium onion, diced fine
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lbs lean ground beef
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
1 lbs frozen peas
In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute onions until translucent, then add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add ground beef and seasonings and cook until browned.  When the meat is browned, sprinkle on the flour and stir until no flour is visible.  Add the tomato paste and stir into the meat until it’s combined.  Continue to stir until the meat begins to darken and look dry, and the pan begins to develop a layer of brown crust or fond.  Pour in generous splash of the stock and begin to scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pan, then pour in the rest of the stock.  Bring to a boil, add the peas, cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer.  Let simmer for twenty minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
For the mashed potatoes
2 lbs russet baking potatoes, peeled, rinsed and chopped into one inch cubes
1 ½ cups plain yogurt
4 tbsp butter
Salt to taste
Peel, rinse and chop the potatoes, and then put them in a large stock pot, with enough cold water to cover by a couple inches.  Put on medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for about twenty minutes.  When a knife or fork slides easily into the potatoes, they’re done.  Remove from the heat and drain in a colander.  Put all of the potatoes through a ricer (or with a masher), add the yogurt, butter and salt and stir to combine.  Avoid over stirring, but combine all ingredients into a uniform whole.  Check for salt and serve.