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Subject: Help w/ potatos & gravy...
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: pdholmes[at]webtv.net (patrick holmes)
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 00:17:10 -0500 (EST)
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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

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From: sportkite1[at]aol.comfly (Ellen)
Date: 16 Nov 1999 08:56:24 GMT
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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 thoroughly...um 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
(yes..one 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
paste.

GRAVY???

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.

Okay...now 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 separator....lol. 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.

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From: imocku[at]aol.comspamenot (Ilene)
Date: 16 Nov 1999 14:58:11 GMT
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>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.

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From: kimberly <nexis1[at]home.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:40:06 GMT
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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.

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From: rdyoung[at]wcc.net (Bob Y.)
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:10:26 GMT
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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.

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From: BadboySP[at]webtv.net
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:24:03 -0500 (EST)
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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.

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From: MJBOOMER[at]webtv.net (MARION BOOMER)
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 20:26:33 -0800 (PST)
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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
June

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From: myship[at]webtv.net (lenny dosono)
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 19:30:39 -0800 (PST)
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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 

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From: debbiegrrl[at]aol.com (DebbieGrrl)
Date: 18 Nov 1999 02:07:05 GMT
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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"...

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From: MJ30[at]webtv.net (Marlene Joyce)
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 00:08:47 -0500 (EST)
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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 mash
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 restbefore. First time I made a chix. I left the bag inside many
years ago Good Luck everyone


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