A recent post on Food and Wine laid out the recipe for a Perfect Gravy. Epicurious released their “10 Commandments of Perfect Mashed Potatoes”. If there is one dish to master this holiday season, it has to be Mashed Potatoes with Gravy. There is power in this classic American comfort food. Producing a delicious pot of potatoes has the magical ability to ease sibling rivalries and quell family disagreements. Even arguments over politics and religion don’t stand a chance with a ladle of warm, rich gravy. I’m not sure if the Pilgrims had yet tasted creamy, fluffy Yukon golds, but I sure hope they had some sort of sauce to ladle over their Thanksgiving meal.
However, I lost the Food and Wine position on “perfect” when their recipe started with bacon and thickened with wheat flour. Not so perfect if you don’t eat animals or have a gluten sensitivity. Epicurious had me until buttermilk and heavy cream, which can be difficult at a table with lactose sensitivity and expanding waistlines. No, the best mashed potatoes and gravy would still taste incredible but pass on unnecessary calories and bothersome ingredients.
The slideshows below will offer my Chef’s tips in step-by-step photos, but here’s a quick checklist to help:
Thicken with flour – While you would traditionally use a butter/flour mix to thicken gravy, you can really use any flour. My favorite is brown rice flour as has a light texture and makes this gluten-free. You can also use whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour, which would offer a unique nuttiness.
Toast the flour – It is essential to brown the flour before you add the stock to your gravy. You want to cook all of the white out of the flour. This step will toast the flavor for more flavor, and it also helps prevent a lumpy gravy.
Flavor up the Can – Gravy made just from stock (or even just from turkey drippings) can taste one flat. To bump up the flavor, think of balance: apples and shallots would offer sweetness; mushrooms and leeks add depth; wine and beer add acidic pops; and dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage add seasonal flavor.
Warm Your Gravy Boat– No one likes lukewarm gravy. Try to find a warm spot near the oven to warm the gravy bowl. At the very least, let the gravy be the last thing you put on the table, to ensure that it’s hot. A hot gravy can cover almost any holiday dish flubs.
For Mashed Potatoes:
Same Size – Cut your potatoes into the same size for boiling. This ensures even cooking for light, fluffy potatoes
Start with Cold Water – Start your potatoes in cold water, then bring to a boil. Again, this ensures even cooking to avoid gummy potatoes.
Drain then Steam – When the potatoes are tender, drain them from their boiling water then immediately return them to the pot where they were boiling. Let them steam off until they are as dry as possible. You can even cook these steamining potatoes over a very low flame for 1-2 minutes. Less water = more fluffy potatoes
Mash and Add Hot – Add your milk (for me, it’s almond milk) and any herbs or spices while the potatoes are still hot. Mash away while hot to heighten the flavors.
Chef's Tips for the Best Gravy:
Chef's Tips for the Best Mashed Potatoes:
This Holiday Cookbook features healthy, delicious vegan recipes for a plant-based celebration. A traditional menu offers oil-free classic flavors, while a gluten-free "Twisted" menu offers exciting new dishes. Chef's Tips offer guidance while beautiful photographs keep you inspired.