I'm pretty sure my favorite meal always has been and always will be chicken and mashed potatoes... my mom's mashed potatoes, to be specific. Not boxed, not garlic, not with skin, not fluffy and light, but MOM'S perfect, creamy mashed potatoes. And yeah, I always toy around with the idea of becoming vegetarian, because I know it'd be so easy for me... but even if I do, there will always be a place in my nostalgic food loving heart for this particular meal. James just so happens to be 110% pleased with anything remotely like comfort food covered in gravy so this meal was for his sake, too. He is so good about eating anything I put in front of him and being supportive and cool with it, so sometimes you've just gotta give your man some 'man' food. And that's just what I did.
- two large chicken breasts
- half an onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- extra virgin olive oil
- a splash of soy sauce
- seasoned salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 & 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, or less
- 1 stick salted butter (you'll use 2 Tbsp of it in the gravy)
- a splash of half & half or milk
- chicken stock
- all-purpose flour
- more soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- (the aforementioned butter from potatoes)
Now let's start the other part about 35 minutes before serving dinner. The potatoes have to boil. Get out your big stock pot and fill it with water, a little bit of salt and boil it. Peel and dice your potatoes, I usually slice each half into fourths because those size pieces are easier to boil faster. Once the water is boiling, toss the potatoes in and let them get soft. Turn the heat down just a tad and put the lid on... that'll help make it faster.
Cool, now let's start the gravy. This is not how I usually make gravy, but then again I suppose I don't ever usually make it. So I went with my mother in-law's recipe because it's my husband's favorite. I did change it just a little... :) Melt down your awesome, homemade, frozen chicken stock. You'll need about one cup. Warm it over a low-medium heat. Add in 2 Tablespoons of butter until well melted. Dust in 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour and stir well, making sure to smash out any flour lumps with the back of your wooden spoon. Once that's well combined, add in a little less than 1 Tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir away, turn the heat down and let it get thick and awesome. You do want to keep an eye on it though and stir every few minutes to keep that weird film from forming on top.
Check to see if your potatoes are softened yet but mashing one up against the side of your stock pot with your (other) wooden spoon. If it mashes pretty easily, go ahead and drain the potatoes into a big strainer.
Transfer them over to the serving bowl and toss in the rest of that stick of butter. (remember, you used 2 Tablespoons of it for the gravy) Let it sit on the potatoes until it's melty. Now here's the tricky part... it's not actually that tricky but it takes a little patience and care. With an electric mixer, start beating the potatoes and butter on low speed. When they're mostly creamy with a few clumps, turn the speed up a notch and add a little bit of cream or milk. Make sure to target the clumpy spots, don't just over mix the entire lot of them... this is where they can get sticky if you're not careful. The point is this: Over mixing is easy to do and will turn your potatoes to sticky mush. Don't do it. But listen, if you DO find them getting sticky, gently stir in a little more butter, 1 Tablespoon at a time until they're soft again. Fold them over onto themselves and top with a plate to keep the heat and moisture in until you're ready to serve.
Taste the beaters... chef's advantage! ;)
Whip together a nice, raw side salad. Ours consisted of kale (surprise, surprise), apples, radishes, tomatoes, dried cranberries and chevre. Drizzled with a little balsamic and voila!
Dish out a pretty bed of the mashed potatoes, top with your beautifully moist, flavorful chicken that you didn't have to touch ALL DAY, and make a pool of gravy over the whole plate. Dinner is served.
And friends... Don't forget about yesterday's post question! Leave a comment with your answer and I enter you in the drawing for the GIVEAWAY!
happy weekend start!