Gravy Boat

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

If, like me, you consider gravy as foundational to the Thanksgiving meal as turkey, then mashed potatoes are simply a matter of course. And as it’s time once again to dust off the gravy boat and make the silver ship-shape for another year’s festivities, it’s worth a look at this starchy dietary staple.

While the potato is native to the Americas and, as a cultivated food crop, pre-dates the Mayflower, the pilgrims wouldn’t have had any with their feast. Potatoes hadn’t yet been introduced to New England at that point. But once they made their way north and crossed the pond a time or two they came back in all manner of shape and form.

From classic French cuisine, here’s a great way to prepare mashed potatoes with flair.

Whether you want to dress up your spuds, or simply have mashed potatoes at-the-ready, this technique is sure to please. They end up creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside and can be pre-formed into mounds with gravy wells, or piped into fancy shapes to top a gravy pond. Either way, they’re delicious, even without gravy—whatever floats your boat.


Duchess Potatoes

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan

3 large egg yolks, divided

¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons heavy cream, divided

A pinch of ground nutmeg


In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and return them to the pot. Add the butter and mash the potatoes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 egg yolks, ¼ cup cream and nutmeg; stir until combined.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly butter the paper. Dollop or pipe the potato mixture out onto the sheet in desired shape. Freeze until firm, at least 15 minutes. Whisk together the remaining egg yolk and cream and brush onto the potatoes. Bake until the edges turn golden.

To prep ahead, portion onto baking sheet, freeze until hard, then transfer to a zip-top bag and keep frozen. Brush with yolk mixture and bake as directed.


Recipe adapted from Everyday Food Magazine