Let’s talk Gravy

Glorious gravy!

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…..*

Gravy basics:

  • 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!

Grease separator

Grease separator

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.

Making Gravy

Making Gravy

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.

Gravy collage 2

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.

 

Gravy collage 3Add 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!

2 cups gravy goodness

 

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.*

 

*Why Cornstarch Gravy thins when reheated:  
Corn starch granules absorb water when heat is introduced, and they start to swell and thicken the mixture. The solution reaches its thickest point at about 175 and 205 degrees F.
As the cooking temperature reaches somewhere near boiling (near 212 degrees F), the starch granules swell to their maximum size and burst open. At this point most of the starch molecules escape into the recipe, releasing the water that had been absorbed by them to be released back into the mixture, resulting in thinning.
Gravy serving
If you have any gravy questions, please ask.  I will do my best to help answer.

About Baking Nana

Each morning my granddaughter Sarah calls to ask, "Watcha doing, Nana? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my "name" Baking Nana. I am a mother to three wonderful children and a grandmother to 12 very hungry grandkids. I don't bake fancy cakes but I do make wonderful yeast bread and home cooked meals made with love.

Comments

Let’s talk Gravy — 19 Comments

  1. I’ve always been gravy challenged and since my husband grills or smokes our bird, I used that as an excuse to buy the stuff in the jar. I’ve tried some make ahead recipes and wasn’t thrilled with them, the jar stuff still tasted better. This year my husband brought in a whole 9X13 pan of drippings he saved while grilling the bird. I thought about your blog and had time to play around before my guest arrived. Your instructions were the best I’ve ever read and I was able to make a wonderful gravy that everybody raved about. My husband has done some research also and put the cut wing tips, and skin flaps into the drip pan along with some of the leftover veggie stuffing to give a nice flavor to the gravy. I just want to thank you for taking the time to give the step-by-step instructions, they were so very helpful and really quite simple. I’ll never fear making gravy again.

    • Good morning, Sherri. You just made my day! I am so glad it worked out for you. Those pan drippings make all the difference! I bet your gravy was the talk of the dinner table! 🙂

  2. Too funny! I was reading the first part of the tutorial, thinking, that’s [making the roux] not how I do it [make gravy]. . . I have never made a roux. But, I’ve never had any complaints about my graby. Of course, my kdis grew up eating it – so they probably think that’s how it should taste 😉 ANYway, as I continued reading, I realized WHY I make gravy the way I do. Mom made gravy using cornstarch – by adding cold water to the cornstarch before adding it to the hot broth. I prefer a flour gravy. But, my model did not made a roux. So, I have always made a slurry of cold water and flour, which I add to my broth [or milk, for my chicken gravy]. I also admit that many years ago, I stopped using pan drippings in my chicken gravy, just using flour with the same seasonings as in my chicken breading – so that I could make my gravy while my chicken cooked – thus timing dinner better {=

  3. Baking Nana, I am so happy I seen this. I was never really sure what to do! The pictures help a lot. I do have a question: I will be cooking my turkey in an oven bag because all I have is a convection oven at work and that’s the only way to keep it from drying out. Once my bird is done can I make the gravy from all the juices in the bag? I bought a gravy fat separator measuring cup (Not sure this real name lol) so just pour all the juices in there and follow the instructions above? Thank you for any tips! =D

    • You have it right Brenna. There will probably be more juices than will fit in your separator – that is ok though. Once your turkey is done, remove it from the bag – tent with foil to keep warm. Then pour what you can of the juice into your separator, reserve the rest, you will use those too. It only takes a couple of minutes for the juice and fat to separate – so just repeat the process with the rest of the juices. Before you add the fat to the pan, kind of eyeball how much fat you are using so you can kind of guesstimate how much flour to use. Are you making your own broth / stock? If not make sure you have a bunch on hand. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby they have great Turkey broth in 1 quart containers for about $2. It is really good. Let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you have a wonderful dinner!

      • Thank you very much =) I will be using store bought stock. I have a bunch our Safeway had a great deal two weeks ago and I stocked up!! (I live in Alaska so no Trader Joes) I am going to attempt my first homemade gravy this year so I am excited about that! Also I will be cooking two turkey I may pick up another measuring cup! lol After seeing the pictures I fell a lot better about attempting this process! Thank you again =) Happy Holidays! (Btw this is Happy Chef from the Buzz, I never really post much I just wanted to let you know where I found your blog) =)

  4. Baking Nana, this is a very clear and well described way to make gravy. First time I made gravy(many years ago) you could stand a spoon up in it. I have vastly improved over the years i’m happy to say. When we go to my husbands side of the family for dinner they wait for me to make the gravy. Makes me feel good. Thank you for posting this.

    • Thank you manella. Isn’t it great to be considered the ‘Gravy Master’ – what an important position! Before I met and married No Baking Papa I had never even tasted Country sausage gravy, let alone made it. My first attempt was hilarious! I am sure we could have used it instead of super glue! I have that down pat, my mother in law Lois would be proud of me!

  5. My whole existence is based on Gravy. I will fill the whole plate with gravy no matter what’s underneath it. I guess I’m just a health nut.

  6. These are perfect instructions for making gravy! And just in time! I love your tutorial–clear and simple. Thanks, Baking Nana!

  7. Hi Baking Nana!

    This is a great post about gravy! Perfect instructions! I am fortunate that my mom taught me how to make gravy at about age 12, and it is amazing how impressed folks are that I can make it. It’s so easy! I urge all your readers to try it out — nothing beats a great gravy. Thanks for these excellent instructions; I can share with my kiddos. Have a lovely holiday season! BL

    • Good morning, thanks for stopping in! I am not sure why gravy is so intimidating. You are fortunate to have learned early on that is SO doable! Have a wonderful holiday and stop by again sometime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.