No holiday meal would be complete without gravy, not any gravy – really GOOD gravy! . Not a little bit of gravy, our family needs a vat full of rich delicious gravy.
Gravy can be intimidating but it really shouldn’t be. Put on your “Making Gravy Attitude”! You can do this!
Once you have the basic method mastered you will be making ‘real’ gravy from scratch, without a ‘recipe’. You will mock those ‘gravy’ packages in the market and walk right on by.
I am going to talk about a couple of methods for making gravy. The first is my favored method and involves using flour as the thickener. Gravy thickened with flour reheats very well. More on that later…..*
- Use equal parts fat and flour. The fat can be butter, turkey or chicken fat, bacon fat, you get the idea! I do not recommend using margarine. (Margarine isn’t ‘real’ food and contains way too much water, plus a bunch of other junk.)
- Melt the fat, get it good and hot but not burning & add the flour and cook and stir until the flour begins to smell like cooked pastry. You just made a roux!
- Add cool or cold liquid (broth, stock or even milk) to the roux and stir or whisk, adding more liquid as needed, a little at a time. How much liquid will depend on the amount of fat and flour you started with and will depend on how thick you want your gravy to be.
- Use the pan drippings from roasted meat or vegetables to enhance the flavor.
- Once the gravy has come to a boil it has reached maximum thickening potential. Add additional liquid to achieve the desired thickness.
Let’s make gravy!
This is the grease separator I use. It drains from the bottom so all your great pan drippings can be saved to flavor the gravy but you need that fat that is hanging out on the top. So drain the ‘goodness’ into a container and then drain the fat into your pan that you are going to make your gravy in. If that vessel is your roasting pan, all the better, very cool! You can scrape up all the little bits of goodness off the bottom of your roasting pan right into your gravy.
In this demo I aimed to make about 2 cups of gravy without actually measuring. I started out with some left over drippings and fat in a small 4 oz container. Keep in mind that these are refrigerated drippings and fat – the same method works for warm pan drippings.
Separate the fat from the drippings with a spoon.
Place just the fat in a pan & heat, add an equal amount of flour.
In this case it was about 3 tablespoons fat and flour.
If you add a little too much flour, no worries – just add a little butter or other fat so you have a thick paste.
Reserve the pan drippings for later.
Cook fat and flour until the flour is cooked and smells like cooked pastry. Start adding the broth – it is going to look lumpy – don’t fear, it will smooth out. Keep stirring – switch from a whisk to a spoon if that feels better. Just keep stirring.
Add your reserved drippings and keep adding broth, keep stirring. Once the gravy has come to a boil, it is as thick as it is going to get. Add additional broth until the gravy is at the desired consistency.
Now you can make as much gravy as you want!
It is all about ratios. This example yielded 2 cups gravy.
About 3 Tablespoons Fat + 3 Tablespoons Flour + pan drippings + 2 cups broth = gravy!
Making Gravy with Cornstarch:
Of course you can thickened gravy with cornstarch. I don’t have a step by step demo for this – stay tuned – I might add one.
- Drain your drippings into a grease separator. Add just the drippings to your pan.
- Add broth / stock to the pan and scrape the bottom to loosen the goodness from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil.
- Make a cornstarch slurry: Mix cornstarch with cold water to make a smooth slurry.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, slowly add slurry to the simmering broth / pan drippings – stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Avoid boiling for more than 1 minute or the cornstarch will break down and start to thin.
- This method works well if you are serving the gravy immediately. If you are planning on re-heating this gravy it does not respond well to being re-heated.*