Getting creamed is usually not a good thing. In sports, it would mean you lose. Badly. Not a close game. And possibly the game is called early, due to the ten run rule. OUCH!
In the South, and if you are a vegetable, getting creamed is good. Very good. You see, in the South, if we aren’t frying something, we are creaming it. This requires the use of butter. And cream. The Two Fat Ladies and Paula Deen would be proud.
As a largely agricultural part of the country, the South produces plenty of vegetables. And we DO like them any which way. Raw, steamed, baked, roasted, or boiled. Grilled, braised, stir fried, creamed and blanched. But the greatest of these, at least according to Southern tradition, is creamed.
We will cream corn, peas, carrots, peas AND carrots, potatoes, and spinach. There is also sausage and cream gravy, cream chipped beef, and creamed onions. Not to be left out, there will be creamed cauliflower, broccoli, tuna, and chicken. Incredibly, there is also such a thing as Creamed Tacos.
But one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, as my Granny made it, was mashed potatoes with hamburger cream gravy. It was a meal in itself. Homemade mashed potatoes topped with thick, peppery, cream gravy full of fried hamburger meat. Sort of the dinner cousin to the classic southern breakfast of biscuits and sausage gravy. It is inexpensive, filling, and very, very comforting.
Mashed Potatoes and Hamburger Gravy
- 4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 stick butter
- 2 cups milk
- Salt, to taste
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 8 cups milk (1-2% okay, but not skim)
- 2 t salt
- 2 t coarse ground black pepper
- ½ cup flour
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain well, and return to pot. Add butter, and mash until butter melts and potatoes are mostly mashed. Add 2 cups milk, and salt to taste.
While potatoes are cooking, brown meat in a large skillet over medium high heat. When thoroughly browned, add milk, salt and pepper. Mix flour in a small bowl with enough water to make a thick, smooth paste. Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the paste is the consistency of pancake batter, and very smooth. When meat and milk is simmering, add flour mixture to the skillet and stir well to incorporate the flour mixture. Cook until mixture is thickened, about 1 minute.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes, with a green salad.