General: Help w/ potatos &gravy...

Subject: Help w/ potatos & gravy...
From: pdholmes at (patrick holmes)
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 00:17:10 -0500 (EST)
Hi. Every year for Thanksgiving, the mashed potatos turn out lumpy and the gravy is oily and bland. I need help ridding my holiday of bland gravy and lumpy potatos. Any suggestions? More later
From: sportkite1 at aol.comfly (Ellen)
Date: 16 Nov 1999 08:56:24 GMT
Patrick....I'm up late, aggravated beyond belief for reasons you don't need to know about. While this subject has been discussed to death here lately I'm gonna take mercy on you and fill you in on the ABC's of Taters and Gravy.

First of all, one must differentiate between smashed potatoes (which yurs sound like), mashed potatoes and whipped potatoes.

Basic Smashed Taters
Bring 3 lbs peeled Idaho Taters, cut up in 1/8's in lightly salted cold water, up to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook taters for around 20 minutes or until the point of a steak knife easily pierces them. Drain taters in a colander over the sink. Return to pot. Shake in some salt and pepper..oh say, about a half teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper. Take a potato masher and mash until lumps of any distinguishable size disappear. Oh yeah...while yur doing this, nuke in yur microwave or combine on yur stove top, oh...let's say 1/4 cup butter and a 1/2 cup whole milk or cream, until heated...not to boiling...just warm. Add to mixture and with a strong rotating motion mash and manually mix this into the taters. Don't overwork it too much...just enough to get a nice semi smooth result. You'll have a few lumps....but nothing anyone won't get over.

Mashed Potatoes
Follow the steps up to the mashing part. Rice yur taters. Add the butter/milk or cream, salt and pepper. Whip with a fork for lightness of tater being.

Whipped Potatoes
(the way I make them)
Follow the basic directions as illustrated above up to the the point of returning them to the cooking pot. At this point...return it to the turned off, but still warm burner and mash them lightly but how do I say this...the point is to allow the residual heat to dry the potatoes out a bit while gently mashing them. When the potatoes are decidedly mashed....add salt and pepper, butter and cream as indicated above. Whip out your hand mixer ( of those funky electric hand mixers no one uses anymore) and whip the potatoes, scraping the bottom of the pot and sides with a spatula for equal whippy-ness...adding a little hot cream/milk until you have reached the consistency you prefer. Don't go over 1 minute or you'll start making wallpaper


Boil up the innerds (sans liver) in a small saucepot. Water to barely cover. Toss in some celery leaves, a little onion wedge with one and only one clove stuck in it (hey guys, for the sake of being), salt, pepper and let it simmer slowly on the back of the stove until you remember about it again. Say about an hour and half. Strain and reserve.

After you've taken yur turkey outa the oven....let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. Then transfer the beastie to a platter, cookie sheet or whatever.

Take the pan the beastie was cooked in and strain thru a colander into a pot or bowl to separate the other goodies/solids it may have been roasted with. (I usually stick some celery under the bird to make a rack) . Big project...sometimes needs another pair of hands to help and then pour another glass of wine. you've got this "giblet stock" thing in one pan, and the drippings from the beastie in another...what to do what to do.

Very simple. Let that drippings thing separate. I would recommend you invest $6.97 in a 16 oz. gravy One of the big ones. Pour those pan drippings into this big boy.

Yah...right about now you want a friend in the kitchen to clean up after you. Bribe them with a ... oh...I'm not allowed to say that here. Anyways....let the fat rise to the top of the gravy separator. It's soooo pretty isn't it? All kinda golden colored on the top and tawny brown on the bottom. oops.....I really should stop eating those Oregon shrooms.

What you're gonna wanna do now is do some mathematics. How many cups of gravy do you wanna make? For illustrative purposes we'll say 3 cups. Take 3 Tablespoons of the light colored turkey fat off the top of that separator we were talkin about and put it in a 1.5 quart saucepan. Whisk in 3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour. Cook over low/medium heat for 3 or so minutes until you're thinking where is that Drink I just put down....then yur gonna wanna add the stock from that separator cup.

Gradually....whisking as yur sipping whatever it is yur drinkin until you think it starts to look like the gravy you know and love. If ya decide ya need more stock...hey, there's that giblet thing sitting there.
From: imocku at aol.comspamenot (Ilene)
Date: 16 Nov 1999 14:58:11 GMT
>Every year for Thanksgiving, the mashed potatos turn out lumpy

About 10 years ago someone gave me a Braun hand blender as an apartment warming gift. When they gave it to me I thought - "what the hell am I going to use this thing for." My parents saw it on the counter and thought that it was some sort of a sex toy.

Seriously though, I use it for my mashed potatoes and never get a lump. It's not realy expensive and as I have learned, it has a multitude of other wonderful uses ie: pureeing and blending soups & sauces....

For my basic mashed potatoes:

I boil up some yukon gold potatoes and break them up a little bit with a fork. Then I add 1/2 stick of butter and milk (start with 1/4C and add more as necessary for a creamier consistency).

Then I just blend away. Make them as mashed or whipped as you like and then season with salt and pepper. You can add some roasted garlic, carmelized onions or herbs if you like.

They re-heat very well, but are of course, best served fresh.

Not everyone likes smooth mashed potatoes, some people like lumps. It's really all a matter of personal taste.
From: kimberly (nexis1 at
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:40:06 GMT
For the potatoes, have you thought about purchasing a ricer? You can put them through the ricer, then add a bit of milk/cream and butter, and fluff with a fork. NO lumps. As for the gravy, since you say it is oily, it suggests to me that you're not draining the majority of the fat from the drippings before using them. Use the neck, giblets and whatnot with some onions and celery to make a basic stock. Be sure to strain it before it's time to make the gravy. When the turkey is finished, use a separator or just skim most of the fat from the drippings. Deglaze the pan with a bit of stock. Combine the drippings and stock, and taste for seasoning. You may want to add some poultry seasoning, pepper, sage, etc. Bring to a low boil ad thicken with a slurry (flour and water, whisked smooth). To do this, you need to stir constantly while adding the slurry a little at a time. Do not use too much. Add some, bring back to a low boil, and check for thickness. Remember that flour does not reach it's full thickening potential until about a minute after you add it.
From: rdyoung at (Bob Y.)
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:10:26 GMT
You might want to consider saving one tablespoon of fat for each cup of gravy you want to make. To the fat add 1 tablespoon of floor for each tablespoon of fat. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture begins to color. The darker you let it get, the darker your gravy will be. Add stock a little at a time stirring to avoid lumps (I like to use a small whisk). When all stock (and any other ingredients) are added cook over med-low heat until thickened, stirring ofen.

Basically the same result, just a different way of getting there.
From: BadboySP at
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:24:03 -0500 (EST)
The gravy is simple. Take turkey out of roasting pan. Pour the rest through a strainer to separate the drippings and goodies left in pot. Take your drippings and bring to aboil. right after you start to boil drippings, in a small bowl or cup put some flour in and slowly add cold water. stirring constantly into a nice creamy liquid. Hot water will lump it. Then por this in your boiling dripping. Stirring constantly so it doesn't lump. add water if to thick. add lots of salt to taste. perfect everytime. A little old fashioned, but it works.
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 20:26:33 -0800 (PST)
You will never have lumpy gravy With the hot drippings in the pan on the stove and the cup with the flour and liquid in it. Take a couple of spoons full of the hot dripping from pan and put it in the cup with the liquid stir and then add to the drippings on the stove and stir. I kid you not. If you do this never a lump. 11/16
From: myship at (lenny dosono)
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 19:30:39 -0800 (PST)
To make the gravy heres a simple and tasty way..After the bird is done,remove it from the pan and let it "rest" Set the pan on a serving spoon or something so it sits at a tilt..After about ten minutes the fat should rise to the top..Skim the fat and put it in a small sauce pan,,put the sauce pan on the burner med high heat,,when it starts to boil slowly whisk flour into pan till you get the consistency of peanut butter..Be careful cause the fat will be hot..This is called a roux,,keep cooking and stirring till it smells like roasted nuts then you'll know it has been cooked right and it adds flavor..With the rest of the drippings in the roasting pan cook on high heat till boiling slowly add roux till desired thickness then season to taste and remove from heat and strain..There should be no need to add extra fluids ie water..If so then add chicken buillion to it.. It would be best to use a wire whip to do this and you should have a smooth tastey gravy.. Good Luck
From: debbiegrrl at (DebbieGrrl)
Date: 18 Nov 1999 02:07:05 GMT
lenny dosono writes:
>slowly add roux till desired thickness then season to taste and remove
>from heat and strain..

and a trick my grandpa taught me....take it off the stove before it looks done! my gravy was always too thick until my grandpa gave me this tip, just before it looks "thick enough" remove it from th heat and it will thenthicken just enough to be "just right"...
From: MJ30 at (Marlene Joyce)
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 00:08:47 -0500 (EST)
the most important thing to do is heat the milk you add to the pots. first mash them by mixer or hand put butterin and let melt then mashed some more. Then slowly add warm milk not too much to make them runny. Little at a time while mixing Remember to add salt to water while cooking pots. Enjoy
take turkey drippings --strain junk out like fat and grease. Start off with 3 or4 tbs. of flour in a dish add water and stir to make a paste with no lumps Turn heat under turkey broth and slowly add flour water stirring the whole time ----If not this is where you get lumps. When it gets as thick as you want taste and add more salt and pepper to taste to darken if you want buy a bottle of gravy master andadd a few dropa While you are doing the pots and gravy the turkey shoud sit not cut. It has to rest before. First time I made a chix. I left the bag inside many years ago Good Luck everyone