Frequently, I am left with little energy and the need to make dinner. I usually always have a pound of home-ground chuck in the freezer. Last night was one of those nights... I began looking on the internet for something different to do with my ground beef this time.
On Chowhound I found several references to something one poster called 'cowboy gravy' on this thread. It sounded good to me. Simple home cooking that would fill up my hungry family. I took the rough guidelines and added a couple flavor enhancers. I made up some mashed potatoes using a recipe in How to Cook Everything. Mashed potatoes are so simple with a potato ricer! I just boiled them whole in their skins until a knife slipped in easily, and then riced them. The skins stayed in the press, and the flesh was silky smooth.
I must admit that cowboy gravy is not the most beautiful meal I have ever put together, but I will tell you that my kids were begging for more. Justin and I loved it, too. Plus, between the gravy, riced potatoes, and a bagged salad I was done in about 30 minutes!
Now a quick word about one ingredient I used; Marmite. I bought my little pot of Marmite at Central Market. I was hoping I would develop a taste for it on buttered toast like the Brits do. Truthfully I have been too scared to try. It is a dark brown, salty, yeast-based spread that contains a good dose of B vitamins and a strong umami flavor. It smells meaty, though it is a vegetarian option.
I have been using it recently in gravies and stews. It lends a delicious meaty flavor. I usually only need less than a teaspoon. My sister recently told me about spaghetti with Marmite from Nigella Lawson. It tried it and I loved it! It is also very quick, delicious, and gives you a boost of B12 vitamins as well!
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 onion, diced
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, to taste
a heaping 1/4 teaspoon Marmite, optional
about 1/4 cup flour
s & p, to taste
Brown Ground beef in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute until softened. Season to taste with a healthy sprinkling of Tony's and salt & pepper. Stir in the Marmite. Add enough flour to equal the fat left in the pan. Stir and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in enough milk to create the consistency that you'd like. I used about 2 cups. Bring to a boil while whisking. Check for seasoning.
Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or toasted bread.