Pressure Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Recipe
Do you believe you could make both these delicious, fluffy mashed potatoes and the rich, roasted chicken gravy in about 25 minutes using regular potatoes and canned chicken broth? You not only can, but you can cook them both at the same time in your electric pressure cooker! The pressure cooker excels at cooking starchy root vegetables like potatoes (pressurized steam cooks them quickly and they absorb very little water) and the high temperatures of your pressure cooker can transform ordinary commercial broth into the foundation of a rich, caramelized gravy. Better yet, by using potato starch as your gravy thickener, your dish will not only be lower in fat and calories, but the intense color and flavor won’t be diluted. And these mashed potatoes and gravy are quick and easy enough to make for weekday dinners, too!
PLEASE NOTE: I’ve made this recipe dozens of times in my Cuisinart Pressure Cooker and it has always worked beautifully. Recently, I attempted to make this recipe in my Instant Pot, and it didn’t work right. The chicken broth didn’t brown the way it had before and it was slightly bitter. I believe this was probably because the InstantPot doesn’t quite reach the same pressure and temperature as the Cuisinart, and apparently the difference is important. I suspect the bitterness is an indication that caramelization is taking place, but that the Maillard Reaction is not. I consulted my friend The Chemist and she agreed with me: the best fix is to add a small amount of powdered gelatin to the broth before pressure cooking it (it has the most protein and the least calories, plus as a bonus it will improve the mouthfeel of the gravy) and if you don’t have gelatin, a tablespoon of butter will also work (though obviously that will add fat and calories, as well as alter the flavor). This increases the amount of protein in the broth, which helps facilitate the Maillard Reaction. I also recommend you pressure cook the broth for several additional minutes after removing the potatoes (I’ll experiment with this and see if I can’t come up with a specific recommendation, but this kind of testing takes time). The broth won’t brown quite a much as it does in the Cuisinart, but the gelatin or butter will prevent the slight bitterness.
How Do You Make Canned Broth Into Roasted Chicken Gravy? The inspiration for this recipe came from the caramelized carrot soup recipe from Modernist Cuisine at Home (great cookbook, very informative, highly recommend it) and Dave Arnold’s article on his experiments re pressure cooking stock. The carrot soup recipe is made in the pressure cooker, adding a small amount of baking soda to increase the alkalinity of the carrots so they will caramelize. That was a cooking epiphany to me: that by changing the pH of the dish, you could enable the Maillard reaction (which makes the surface of steaks turn brown and creates hundreds of wonderful complex flavor compounds) to occur in a moist cooking environment as well. I’ve experimented with this technique with different vegetables, onions, and garlic, and recently, with meat and broth as well. After reading Mr. Arnold’s article, it struck me that if you could improve homemade stock by pressure cooking it for longer periods of time, maybe you could use Modernist Cuisine’s technique to improve commercial broth in your pressure cooker in a matter of minutes. And it worked! In the time it takes to cook your potatoes, the pale yellow broth is transformed into a beautiful dark brown broth that looks homemade and has a richer, more intense flavor.
Gluten Free Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. Because this gravy is thickened with potato starch instead of roux (a butter and flour mixture), the gravy is not only lower in calories and fat, the rich meaty flavor isn’t diluted, and it retains its dark, glossy appearance. And as long as you use a gluten free commercial broth (here are List of Campbell’s and Swanson’s Gluten Free Broths (USA) and List of Campbell’s and Swanson’s Gluten Free Broths (Canada)) and a gluten free chicken base, your family and guests with gluten sensitivities most likely can enjoy the mashed potatoes and gravy as well. (Please note, I say “most likely” because after doing more research, a certain percentage of those suffering from celiac disease apparently are also intolerant of, or allergic to milk proteins (whey and casein) and some are lactose intolerant. If you are cooking for a celiac sufferer, check with them as to their tolerance for milk, and worst case, I’ve got a great recipe for roasted potatoes I’ll be posting in the next couple of days that is definitely safe.
Can I Substitute Potato Flour for Potato Starch? No. Potato starch and potato starch flour are both 100% pure potato starch and tasteless, but potato flour is made from whole potatoes, and therefore isn’t pure starch, its heavier, it has a distinct taste and it is much more likely to clump up and cause problems for you. If you need to substitute, you can sub in an equal amount of cornstarch for the potato starch (in a slurry) to use as your thickener, but potato starch is better both because it won’t introduce any additional flavors to the dish and it tolerates heat better than cornstarch.
Can I Double This Recipe? If you have at least a six quart pressure cooker, yes. I’ve made as many as five pounds of mashed potatoes at a time in my pressure cooker. But if you do so, you may need to use the trivet that came with your pressure cooker instead of a vegetable steamer to keep the potatoes from rising above the capacity limit.
GRAVY THICKENING TIP – Potato Starch v. Roux: Traditionally, gravies are thickened with roux, a butter and flour mixture. For example, to thicken this amount of gravy, you would need several tablespoons each of butter and flour, and you would have to cook the roux slowly for a number of minutes beforehand to remove the “floury” taste. And while butter adds great flavor and a silky mouthfeel, it also adds a lot of fat and calories, and all those extra tablespoons of ingredients dilute the flavor. (You could always add a tablespoon of butter to the gravy at the end if you like the flavor, or save on the calories in the gravy, and use half and half or cream in your potatoes instead, for a much creamier, richer flavor.) Using a potato starch slurry is much quicker and you retain the meaty flavor of the broth.
2 pounds of Russet potatoes
2 cups (1 15 oz. can) chicken broth
2 teaspoons Chicken Base
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons dry vermouth, sherry or white wine
1 teaspoon of Unflavored Gelatin (optional) OR
1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
(DO NOT substitute margarine)
1 – 1 ¼ cups of milk, half and half or cream
1 level tablespoon of Potato Starch or Potato Starch Flour
Salt and pepper to taste (if needed)
Electric Pressure Cooker
12″ Silicone or Nylon Tongs
Metal or silicone vegetable steamer
Potato masher or Potato Ricer
Bowl / container for the mashed potatoes
MASHED POTATO TIP: Pressure cookers do a great job cooking starches like rice and potatoes because they direct a great deal of energy so efficiently that they can cook them quickly and evenly, using just a small amount of water. The potatoes will be even lighter if you use a trivet or vegetable steamer to raise them above the cooking liquid (so they are pressure steamed). The less liquid they absorb while cooking, the more liquid the starch molecules can absorb when you add the milk. The potatoes will absorb even more milk (and be lighter and creamier) if everything is combined hot: mash your potatoes while hot, heat the milk and butter before adding them to the potatoes and combine everything while piping hot for best results.
- Peel 2 pounds of potatoes, removing any bad spots, bruises or discolored areas. When peeled, quickly rinse the whole potatoes using cold water.
- Add ½ teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons of chicken base and 2 tablespoons of dry vermouth, sherry or white wine to the pressure cooker insert. Optional: If you do not have a Cuisinart pressure cooker, or if you live at altitude, I recommend you also add 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin or 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Reserve ¼ cup of the broth for later use. Add the remaining 1 ¾ cups of chicken broth to the pressure cooker pot and stir to distribute the baking soda and dissolve the chicken base into the broth mixture.
- Place the trivet or vegetable steamer in the pressure cooker pot.
- Cut the rinsed potatoes into pieces approximately ¾ inch to 1 inch thick. Bigger pieces can be cut in half.
- Place the potatoes in the vegetable steamer or trivet. Start in the center, working your way evenly around, distributing the weight evenly (so as not to tip over the steamer), and to the extent possible, placing in a single layer. Any extra chunks should be placed in a second layer in the center. Close and lock the lid and cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 6 minutes using QUICK RELEASE.
- Once the machine has reached pressure, heat the milk/half and half/cream (and butter, if desired) in a small saucepan over low heat. You don’t want the milk to boil over, just heat to the point where large bubbles form in the pot and whisps of steam arise from the milk. If the milk heats up too much before the timer goes off, you can remove it from the heat temporarily.
- Once the timer goes off and switches to “keep warm” turn the machine off and with your tongs turn the pressure valve to forcibly release the pressure. When the lid is released, unlock it and hold it over the pot at an angle to let any hot broth fall back in. Using an oven mitt, grab the vegetable steamer by the central prong and transfer the potatoes into a bowl or container. Change the pressure cooker to BROWNING and hit START to raise the temperate of the broth.
- While the potatoes are still steaming hot, use a potato masher or potato ricer to mash them. (Work quickly: a ricer will work best if the potatoes are as hot as possible.) Add coarse kosher salt, if desired.
- While potatoes are still hot, add the heated milk, a small amount at a time, being careful not to slosh hot milk out of the bowl. Continue adding milk until you reach the desired consistency. (If the potatoes will not be eaten right away, I’ll often add a little extra milk because they’ll stiffen as they cool.)
- Make a slurry by adding a level tablespoon of potato starch to the reserved broth, stirring constantly to incorporate. Remove any lumps.
- Begin whisking the hot broth with one hand while very slowly pouring the potato starch slurry into the pot. Whisk vigorously to avoid clumping, and keep whisking until slurry is thoroughly incorporated. The gravy should thicken pretty quickly. Once sufficiently thickened, turn the machine off and remove the pot from the pressure cooker to stop cooking. (I normally use a silicone whisk, but I damaged it a few days ago and haven’t had a chance to replace it. A silicone pastry brush does in a pinch, apparently.) Serve potatoes and gravy immediately for best results.
REHEATING TIP: In the unlikely event you have any leftovers, the best way to reheat everything is to add a small amount of milk to a skillet and let it heat up over medium high heat. Add the cold potatoes to the milk, stirring thoroughly to incorporate the hot milk. Unbelievable as it may seem, the mashed potatoes will have thickened up during refrigeration and can actually absorb even more milk than they already did. Heat the mashed potatoes, stirring frequently, until piping hot. Then pour the leftover gravy on the potatoes and allow the hot potatoes to gently heat up the leftover gravy.
- 2 pounds of Russet potatoes
- 2 cups (1 - 15 oz. can) chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons Chicken Base
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons dry vermouth, sherry or white wine
- 1 teaspoon Unflavored Gelatin (optional) OR
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional) (DO NOT substitute margarine)
- 1 – 1 ¼ cups of milk, half and half or cream
- 1 level tablespoon of Potato Starch or Potato Starch Flour
- Salt and pepper to taste (if needed)
- Peel and wash 2 pounds of potatoes.
- To the pressure cooker pot, add ½ teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons chicken base, and 2 tablespoons of dry vermouth, sherry or white wine. Optional: If you don't have a Cuisinart pressure cooker, or you live at altitude, I recommend you add either 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin or 1 tablespoon butter.
- Reserve ¼ cup of the chicken broth and add the rest to the pressure cooker pot, stirring to incorporate.
- Add the trivet or vegetable steamer to the pot.
- Cut the potatoes into pieces approximately ¾" to 1" thick. Larger pieces can be cut in half.
- Starting in the middle, and working your way evenly around, place the potatoes on top of the trivet or vegetable steamer, one layer deep, taking care not to tip the contents into the cooking broth. Lock the cooker lid and pressure cook at HIGH PRESSURE for 6 minutes using QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE.
- Once pressure has been reached and the timer starts, warm the milk (and any butter) over low heat in a small saucepan, stirring periodically. Do not allow the milk to boil over: if needed, temporarily remove from the heat until the potatoes are ready.
- When the timer beeps, switch the machine off and move the pressure valve to force pressure release. Unlock the lid and hold it over the pot at an angle to let any hot broth fall back in. Transfer the potatoes into a bowl or container. Change the pressure cooker to BROWNING and hit START to re-heat the broth.
- While the potatoes are still steaming hot, use either a potato masher or a potato ricer to mash them. Add salt, if needed.
- Add small amounts of the hot milk at a time to the potatoes, carefully stirring into the potatoes until the desired consistency is reached.
- Add 1 level tablespoon of potato starch to the ¼ cup of reserved broth, stirring to incorporate into a slurry.
- Using your whisk, begin stirring the hot broth before slowly pouring the potato starch slurry into it. Keep stirring vigorously, adding a small amount of slurry at a time, and using the whisk to incorporate it into the gravy. It should thicken up fairly quickly. Once it thickens, turn the pressure cooker off and remove the pot from the pressure cooker. Serve immediately.