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Posted on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 : 8 a.m.

Hamburger gravy with mashed redskin potatoes is inspired comfort food

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

Please note that this was written ahead of time, as I wouldn't be able to function if I didn't prepare at least one week ahead rather than trying to find time to post every single day! But sadly, the man I'm writing about — who was doing so beautifully just two weeks ago — has died quite unexpectedly; his funeral was held yesterday morning. And I'm sorry to say that our patient never got to try his requested dish... just after I prepared this meal, freezing it to bring for the next visit, he went back into the hospital and subsequently passed away ....

The same patient whom I wrote about yesterday who'd been in the hospital for six weeks, followed by weeks of rehab before finally coming home to continued therapies and a goal of regaining strength and weight specifically requested today's featured dish: Hamburger Gravy. I'd asked him what would encourage him to eat, and this is what immediately came to mind.

But I'd never heard of it. "You mean, a hamburger patty with a gravy over it?"

An emphatic "No."

"It's hamburger — ground beef — cooked in a gravy. And it's served over mashed potatoes."

And so, I set about figuring out how to make this with just that brief description.

I'd considered adding peas and carrots, in an effort to boost the nutritional value; that was pooh-poohed immedately. This dish is not about vegetables, but about comfort. (Those colorful, healthy things can go on the side, but not in the main dish!)

Mushrooms seemed a natural addition, though, to help boost the flavor of the gravy; because of medicine interactions, I wasn't using red wine (which I would normally have used instinctively).

Pour everything over mashed redskin potatoes, with the skins adding color and texture. And, of course, they have to be lumpy — real potatoes for real food.

And I have to say that this is inspired — I loved it! It's perfect hearty, soul-soothing food, and will be even more appreciated on a cold wintery Michigan evening just a few months from now ....

Hamburger Gravy with Mashed Redskin Potatoes

Hamburger Gravy:
1-1/2 pounds ground chuck
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups beef stock (or red wine or a combination thereof)
3 generous splashes cayenne pepper sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup chopped parsley

In a Dutch oven, cook the ground chuck over medium heat until mostly browned; drain. Add the mushrooms and onion and saute until the vegetables are softened, Add the salt, seasoned salt and pepper; cook for 5 more minutes. Add the stock and pepper sauce, and bring to a boil. Combine the cornstarch and water; add to the gravy and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley.

Mashed Potatoes:
1 3-pound bag redskin potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups skim milk
3 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil. Cut the potatoes into halves, and cook for 15 minutes or until fork-tender; drain. Partially mash the potatoes, then add the butter, milk, salt and pepper. Continue to mash the potatoes until they become somewhat creamy but retain chunks of potato rather than being smooth.

Place a generous scoop of potatoes in a deep bowl, then pour hamburger gravy over the top.

Serves 4-6.

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Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures in the kitchen. She was thrilled to have her post about Scottish Oatmeal Shortbread named as one of the daily "Best of the Blogs" by the prestigious Food News Journal.

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related. Her newest feature is Frugal Floozie Friday, seeking fun and food for $5 or less ... really! Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here.