Going Retro with Hamburger Gravy

It’s interesting to look back to a year ago, and discover that the two “National” Days I was drawn to were Chili Day and Retro Day. I hadn’t even realized it until now. We’ve already established that I love chili, so no surprise there. But Retro Day – that was interesting.

You see, the whole point behind Retro Day is to pick a point in time before we were all so plugged in – a time when our lives did not revolve around smart phones and tweeter. You know, in the dark ages when people actually spoke face to face and family time did not involve anything electronic. For those of us who remember a time when friends were real and family time mattered, it makes sense that we long for that again. It makes me sad to look at the young people of today and realize how much they have missed by living in a world so void of human connection.


A few years back, Hubby, Kiddo and I went to San Francisco for the day. One of the things I love to do is people watch. As I sat on a bench near Fisherman’s Wharf, I noticed how many people had cell phones on extension poles, filming themselves walking around the wharf rather than actually being “present” for the experience as it was happening. It made me sad. So today, let’s unplug even if only for a little while.

As for the dish I’ve brought to share, it’s very retro to me. I can’t speak for everyone when it comes to school lunch encounters, but I sure do remember Hamburger Gravy growing up. At the time, it made me cringe. Today, not so much. It’s more a comfort thing. You can’t have gravy without some mashed taters. So here’s to childhood memories and feeling warm all over.

Retro Mashed Potatoes with Hamburger Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/4 Cup butter
1/2 Cup Milk
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Peel potatoes. Cut into 2-inch chunks. Place potatoes in large saucepan with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot over low heat to “dry” any water residue. Remove from heat. Mash potatoes.

In a small saucepan, combine butter and milk over low heat. Heat until butter is melted and mixture is hot. Add butter mixture to potatoes and stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Hamburger Gravy
1/4 White Onion, chopped
1 lb. Lean Ground Sirloin
3 tablespoons Flour
1 tablespoon Beef-flavor Instant Bouillon
2 tablespoons Steak Sauce
2 cups Milk

Cut 1/4 of the onion, from root to tip. Wrap remaining onion, with peel, and store for another use. Peel reserved onion, cut into long, thin slivers lengthwise, then cut crosswise into diced onion. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onions, cook until meat is cooked through, breaking into small pieces as it cooks

Stir in flour, bouillon and steak sauce. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir 4 to 6 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens, stirring frequently. Keep warm, thin with more milk or beef stock if gravy becomes too thick.

To serve, place a big scoop of mashed potato onto individual plates. Ladle on the gravy, season with a little pepper if desired.

For that authentic, retro “Lunch Lady” special, serve with green vegetables such as steamed green beans.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

5 thoughts on “Going Retro with Hamburger Gravy”

  1. Agree with you 1000% on all the crazy, self-involved preoccupations we’ve slipped into. I never had hamburger gravy—my mother never served casseroles and such—but when I first started cooking, I tried every possible concoction that was popular at the time. When a friend had a retro party last summer, she made a tuna noodle casserole with a “scratch” béchamel, and it was absolutely delicious. And, as you point out, so comforting!


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