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So I'm completely lost on what to do. I have no idea why my hamburger gravy for my mash potatoes is so bland. 1lb ground beef, 2tbsp worcestershire sauce, 1onion, 1/2 tbsp of garlic powder, 2cup milk, 3tbsp flour, and salt&pepper to taste. I doubled everything except only 3cups of milk instead of 4. When actually eating it the gravy just seemed kind of bland.

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    Welcome to Seasoned Advice. What exactly is your question? What kind of answer are you expecting? – Johannes_B Jan 22 at 7:58
  • Is this a recipe you've made before with good results, or a new recipe you want to improve? Also, what's your method, i.e. the steps taken to make it? – GdD Jan 22 at 10:31
  • This is the recipe that I ended up using and I've tried it once or twice, but I just can't get it to taste right. This time it just seems bland and I've been hoping to make it taste like how I remembered all those years back in elementary school. justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/main-course-beef/… – Aaron Jan 22 at 11:38
  • I find almost all online recipes to be bland and avoid them in general. If you look at her other recipes and photos, this is one site I would never use. – Rob Jan 22 at 12:56
  • Mono Sodium Glutamate can help. Did you boil the milk in the bottom of the pan to pull up the tasty grease and browning reaction products? Those are essential. – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 23 at 5:15
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The recipe says "Salt and pepper to taste" maybe you did not add enough ?

In any cases, the recipe looks really bland; there's not much flavor in there.

You need to build the flavors from the start.

This is what I would do.

  1. I'd cook the onions first to golden brown and put aside.
  2. I'd cook the meat until brown and crispy (add some salt and pepper)
  3. Add the onions back to the meat.
  4. (my addition) Add some tomato purée; add some herbs, add some spices; continue cooking until "dry"
  5. Continue with the recipe, adjust seasoning.
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Gravy "goodness" comes from the flavor left behind when the meat cooks. All those bits & pieces left behind on the caramelized bottom of the pan is the stuff you want in your gravy. So start, by cooking the ground beef until you see "glaze" in the bottom of the pan and the meat is well-browned. Then add your onion into the beef, stirring it in and cooking a couple minutes (until the onion softens). Meanwhile... mix equal amounts of soft butter and self-rising flour. Add this, your seasonings and ~1C of milk to the pan. Stirring until everything is well blended. Then add more milk, a half cup at a time, until you reach your desired consistancy. If your gravy ends up too thin, don't stress, cooling the gravy down will thicken it up some.

(note: if your butter is cold when you go to mix it with the flour, pop it in the microwave for 8-15 seconds. It doesn't need long to soften, so start at 8 seconds and add a couple seconds at a time until the butter is soft enough to stir into the flour.)

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    It's also worth mentioning that because of this, doubling recipes can be a problem -- you won't get the same development of fond (the brown bits) as you have to stir more often to get everything cooked ... and the extra food can result in steaming preventing it from getting to the necessary temperatures. If you don't have a sufficiently sized pan (and burner to go with it), you need to cook in batches (and deglaze in between, but save the liquid from the deglazing) – Joe Jan 23 at 15:02
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Some kind of stock would help, either bone broth, store-bought stock or even a stock cube in boiling water. Other helpful flavour enhancers are: the water from reconstituted dried mushrooms, capers, anchovies, celery. I don't think the milk helps either, try using less. It also helps making a roux as a start, using the flour and some kind of fat. I use butter or lard. The browning of the flour in the fat creates more flavour.

  • I used a bit of reduced beef broth though I may have reduced it too much (forgot to add this to my details). What does butter do for the gravy? – Aaron Jan 22 at 11:41
  • The butter (or other fat) provides the heat for browning the flour, and fat also delivers flavour to the palate. It is the basis for many kinds of sauces/gravies: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roux If there is enough fat left over from sauteeing the ground beef, you could use that instead. – S. Tollefsen Jan 22 at 11:55

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