Brown Hamburger Gravy

This post could also be called, “How NOT to bake a potato”.  A good friend told me about ‘baking’ potatoes in a crock pot. I was skeptical.  She said all you do is scrub them and stick them in the crock pot.  When you get home, you have baked potatoes.  But the bottom or sides that touch the crock tend to burn.

Before I get up on my little potato-box, let me explain something.  I grew up in a tiny little town called Shelley, Idaho.  Shelley is a potato town.  We have a ‘Spud Harvest’ celebration every September (and the kids get out of school for two weeks for harvest).  Shelley is so into potatoes, the high school mascot is a potato.  Yep.  Shelley Russets.  While all the other schools got to make cool posters that said things like, “Mash those Russets!  Make those Russets Fry!”, our posters said things like, “Russets have a-peel!” and “We’ve got our ‘eyes’ on you!”  Lame?  Maybe.  But we all have those kinds of growing up stories.  The point is that Potatoes are SERIOUS BUSINESS in Shelley, ID.  All those spuds they give out on Spud Day are REAL baked potatoes, with a tender flaky inside and crispy salty skin.

You can’t be a proper Shelly Russet without knowing how a baked potato should taste.  Folks, ‘baked potatoes’ in the crock pot are not it.  They have a slimy or waxy interior texture and soft chewy skin.  Not good spuds.  Sure, you can pile on the cheese, chili, sour cream, etc. to cover up the texture, but it just isn’t right!!

Ok.  Potato rant over.  Moving on…

Hamburger gravy is comforting stuff.  My Mom would make it for dinner once in a while and we’d have it over mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, noodles or toast.  It’s pretty versatile and really easy to pull together for a quick dinner.  The leftovers are great, too!

What comfort food do you start to crave at the beginning of fall?

Brown Hamburger Gravy

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  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra milk if you like a thinner gravy
  1. Brown beef in a skillet over medium heat, breaking it up well.  When browning is complete, make sure there is about 2 Tbsp fat left at the bottom of the skillet.  If not, add the olive oil.  Fat is needed to combine with the flour to make the roux to thicken the gravy. 😉
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the beef and stir well.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, to get rid of the raw flour taste.  Plop in the Better than Bouillon and stir well to coat the beef.
  3. Add the milk and use a rubber spatula to scrape up the bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Those are some tasty bits!  Continue to cook, stirring often, until bubbly and thick.  This should take 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. If needed, add a bit more milk to thin it out slightly.  Spoon over mashed potatoes, rice, toast, baked potatoes, or pasta.

HINT: If you add some mushrooms to the cooking beef and some sour cream at the end, you’ve got Stroganoff!  Serve over soft egg noodles. 🙂


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