Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Northwest Hamburger Gravy

Today I'm breaking the official lunch lady code. I'm divulging a "secret" school recipe. OK, it's probably not secret, but I feel like I'm doing something bad... and I like it!! A while back (while I was still a substitute custodian at the elementary school) I got an email from a friend asking if I could get my hands on the schools hamburger gravy recipe. My eyes lit up. I always loved the schools gravy, but could never figure out how to make it. This was my chance to snag the recipe. I had been working at the school for several months and couldn't believe I hadn't thought of the idea myself. I marched in the kitchen with purpose the day I asked the school cook Rose for the recipe and she happily spilled the beans. When it was gravy day at school I was so excited because it had been years since I eaten the real deal. I seriously considered licking the plate. It was SO good!!! Rose was so impressed by my enthusiasm she sent an extra portion of it home with me to photograph for you. I hope you enjoy this gravy recipe as much as I do. I'm giving you the exact school recipe, so I'm sure you'll want to cut it down (unless you need to feed over 100 people!). Enjoy :)

**UPDATE** I wanted to let you know I raided the spice cabinet and found the kitchen bouquet. It's a liquid browning and seasoning sauce. Unless you already own this item and know you like it I wouldn't buy a bottle of it. The other school cook says they don't always use it and you can't tell the difference!

NORTHWEST HAMBURGER GRAVY
30 lb ground beef
2 gallons water
2 cups beef base
1 TBSP pepper
2 TBSP kitchen bouquet
3 cups corn starch mixed with 4 cups water

Cook, drain and rinse ground beef (the school boils it). Crumble meat until its a very fine texture (look at picture). Bring 2 gallons water to a boil. Add beef base, pepper and kitchen bouquet. Mix in corn starch and water mixture and stir until thickened. Add cooked ground beef. This recipe makes 177 2 oz. servings.

*The school serves this with mashed potatoes*

29 comments:

Krista said...

MMMMMmmmm! Now if I can only figure out how to cut it down!!! I can taste it already!

Sila Lumenn said...

That sounds so good! I've made a stab at cutting the recipe down to family size:

1 lb. ground beef
1 cup water
2 tbl. Beef base
1/8 tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. kitchen bouquet
1 ½ tbl. Corn starch mixed with 1/4 cup water

Coleen's Recipes said...

I've been making this for as long as I can remember. I usually add frozen veggies to this burger gravy and serve it over noodles.

Denise said...

That is really spilling an old time secret but I love it. How do I cut that down???

Kari said...

I've never heard of hamburger gravy but it looks so good!

My grandmother was a farmer's wife and an elementary school lunchroom manager. She was an amazing cook. When I was little (around 4 or 5) I can remember going to work with her and hanging out in the school kitchen. I loved it because I got to eat all the yummy homemade rolls that I wanted.

Melody said...

Yummy! I work at a dorm cafeteria in college and I was always amazed at the recipes. A gallon of that and 20 lbs of that. And the huge mixers and bowls. Great recipe!

Donna-FFW said...

Doesnt it feel good to do something bad!!;)

Good for you snagging what looks like a wonderful recipe.

mommyofgirls said...

I'm gonna have to make this now! I saw where someone said they serve it over noodles- sounds yummy that way too! Thanks, Heidi!!!

Shauna said...

I think I just figured out what we are having for supper tonight! Thanks Heidi!

The imPerfect Housewife said...

Heck yeah, I'd eat that! What do you put it on?? Is it on mashed potatoes in your picture or what does the school put it on?? I remember back in the day, everyone HATED meatloaf day at school and for some reason I loved it. I still want to walk in there and say, "Hey got any meatloaf I could try??" Thanks for the recipe! ♥

kys said...

My kids would not eat that in a million years. But who cares about them. Yum!

Chicago Mom said...

What is kitchen bouquet? Can I find it in the spice section at the store, or can I whip my own from spices in my cabinet? Thanks!

Heidi said...

The school serves this with mashed potatoes, but noodles would probably be really good too. I'm not exactly sure what kitchen bouquet is... I think you can leave it out. I saw some in the cabinet at school and I will read what is in it Chicago mom!

teresa said...

this sounds wonderful! my kids would love it too!

Christy said...

This looks wonderful! I like the idea of adding veggies to this-a whole meal in one dish! Thanks for sharing the secret!

Katy ~ said...

Hamburger gravy...boy does that bring back memories. I haven't had this since my mother made this for us. Over heaps of mashed potatoes, of course. YUM YUM

Disneypal said...

Count me as another one that doesn't know what "Kitchen Bouquet" is. Also I'm not really sure what Beef Base is. Is that like beef stock?

Disneypal said...

Well, I did find a bit of info about Kitchen Bouquet - seems it is a browing agent - probably could leave it out.

http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/kitchenbouquet

Krista said...

Thanks so much Sila. I was sitting here trying to figure out how to cut it down, trying to google for calculators that might do this!! Can't wait to try it!

Chicago Mom said...

Thanks Disney Pal! I'll check out that link!

Eva Gallant said...

The next time I'm entertaining a few hundred close friends, I'll definitely try this! lol

Just stopped by from SITS to say hi; hope you will do the same.

Stephanie Faris said...

I'd never heard of hamburger gravy but then I live in the Southeast, so maybe that's why! It sounds delicious.

Ashley said...

Oh. My. God. I haven't thought about this in years! Wanna share freezer space? Next can you get the recipes for cinnamon rolls and crispitos? I love you job at the school!

somechemstudent said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. I've been joking for a few years that the only reason I want to teach is to have access to some of my favorite dishes again.

I do find that sometimes I seem to go a bit heavy on the beef base and it becomes too salty. I just add a few squirts of lemon juice and it balances out perfectly.

LadyJayPee said...

I was thrilled to find this! I made an adapted version of it last night and think I came pretty close to elementary school memories in the Seattle School District where it was known as "meat blanquette on mashed potatoes" back in my day...long, long ago. ☺ Thanks for sharing it!

Grace C said...

Heidi,

Thanks for posting this! I had a hilarious life-affirming moment when I found this blog -- thanks to LadyJayPee's foresight in identifying this Seattle school cafeteria wonder as "meat blanquette on mashed potatoes"! Checking my school's weekly lunch menu to avoid missing this super comfort food was one of my earliest steps in developing life planning skills! Although I've occasionally mustered up a version of this using a packet of au jus mix and ground pork (more tender than beef), it never quite hit the mark. Tonight, though, I'm going to see about whipping up the Real Deal! Thanks for bringing back an oldie but goodie!

Steve said...

How weird is this. I attended John Muir School in Seattle in the 60s and for some reason decided to google "meat blanquette with mashed potatoes" because I remember loving it as a kid. Had no idea it had a cult following. Sounds like kitchen bouquet was the secret ingredient. I can still see the lunch ladies Agnes and Effie dishing it up.

Nichol Habegger said...

This brings back memories! Thank you so much, I was just telling my husband how we had the best food at northwest!! I can't wait to try it!

Anonymous said...

Now, if only you could get me one of my other favorite recipes :P It had turkey (or chicken, depending on the day, but usually turkey) in a yellowish clear gravy sauce over noodles (I'm sure there were veggie chunks in there, but NOT peas because I hated peas back in the day). That's the other recipe I loved that I can't find. Thank you for finding this one....now off to see where I can buy kitchen bouquet.