This recipe is not for the faint of heart—really, it might kill you. There is an inordinate amount of butter in there. I'm not usually one to go for gravy with mashed potatoes; as a personal preference I fall firmly in the "cheesy" camp when it comes to my spuds.
This, though, seemed awfully rather dreamy and ingenious—by broiling the potatoes in the gravy, you get a crispy, brown top and a rich, bubbling sauce that keeps the mash super moist and tasty. I thought the potatoes could have been a touch creamier, but that might be my fat-loving American palate getting in the way. I suspect it all depends on the starchiness of your particular taters.
The secret to this-here gravy, what elevates it above the usual gloppy beigeness, is in the full two teaspoons of black pepper. I prefer the already ground stuff in this incarnation; it keeps things smooth and eliminates the chance of chomping into a big piece of peppercorn (which I think tastes like taking a bite out of a charred cast-iron pan). The original concept calls for something listed as "beef gravy or drippings, or beef cubed," which I wasn't sure about, so I omitted it. Instead, I subbed beef broth for the chicken broth because that's what I had on hand, and hoped it would do the work of both ingredients. I don't think the end product suffered, though it's hard to remember because it disappeared so fast.
All credit for this recipe goes to the amazing Seasaltwithfood, a blog I'm guilty of stalking mercilessly.
Alongside I served simply sautéed salt-and-pepper chicken cutlets. On a whim, I just added olive oil to the gravy pan after I'd poured out the gravy, but without cleaning the pan first. That way the chicken browned while picking up leftover gravy bitlets.
Yes, it's a word.
The other revelation? Ina Garten's Brussels sprouts. I first discovered them about a year ago, and they are transformative.
(I also love Savour Fare's bacon-braised Brussels sprouts with cream, but with the gravy bubbling away on the stove, I made a game-time decision not to send myself into full cardiac arrest.)
How good are these Brussels sprouts? A 40-year-old man and a 16-month-old child almost came to blows over them, that's how good. How easy are these Brussels sprouts? Almost shamefully easy. The only tricks are to remember to salt them liberally, and to not take them out of the oven when you think they're burning. They're not; they're just taking on insane amounts of roasted, blistering flavor. When you cut the bottoms off the sprouts, you'll probably end up with a board full of leftover leaves—sprinkle those around the pan, as well. (They become unbelievable crispy sprout chips.)
There's not a lot to this plate—everything sort of takes care of cooking itself, and aside from the potato peeling there isn't a lot of agonizing prep work—but it is about as homey and satisfying as they come.
Mashed Potatoes Baked in Gravy with Salt-and-Pepper Chicken
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons cream or milk
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
11 tablespoons butter, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon onion powder
3 cups reduced-fat, low-sodium beef broth
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
4 chicken cutlets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Boil potatoes until fork-tender; drain. Mash potatoes with cream, salt, and 4 tablespoons butter. Set aside.
2. In a large, deep skillet, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add garlic, if desired, and sprinkle with flour; cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until flour is golden. Whisk in beef broth and pepper, and cook until gravy thickens. Pour gravy into baking dish, and return pan to stovetop. (Do not clean pan.)
3. Sprinkle chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in pan, and sauté chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove pan from heat, and cover with foil to keep warm.
4. Top gravy in baking dish with reserved mashed potatoes; top with dots of remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Broil 6 to 8 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and gravy is bubbling. Serve with chicken cutlets. Makes 4 servings.
Ina Garten's Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt, and pepper; roast 35 to 40 minutes or until sprouts are crisp on the outside and tender inside. (They will be very deeply brown.) Sprinkle with more kosher salt, and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.