As the ritual of roasted bird, baked stuffing, mashed potatoes rushes upon us, one must not forget the one thing to bind them, one thing to rule them all.
This post covers the very basics of creating a passable gravy. One MUST improvise and adapt this for a truly outstanding gravy.
For the meal in question, I would remove my bird from the oven and pan, cover to rest. Thence drain off all the cooking juices from the pan, via a strainer into a large measuring cup.
Let the pan drippings stand and the fat to rise to the top. I’ll use the fat in my basic roux, and the juices as the liquid to create my gravy. Seasoning with salt and pepper as well as other herbs and spices is strongly suggested, (Sage, Thyme, Marjoram, Rosemary, ground finely, comes to mind.)
Our basic ratio is equal parts of fat to flour, and a lightly cooked (2-3 minutes) or blond roux will thicken 4 parts liquid. So if I have 2 cups of juices, I’ll need 4 tablespoons of drippings, and 4 tbsp of flour. (Do use AP or pastry flour, do not use high protein or bread flour). If one is short on fat, butter or neutral oil can be used to make up any difference.
For other uses, one can use milk as the liquid. (Think Sausage Gravy to pour over biscuits.) But those are another post.
Gravy is a sauce, often made from the juices of meats that run naturally during cooking and often thickened with wheat flour or corn starch for added texture. The gravy may be further colored and flavored with gravy salt (a simple mix of salt and caramel food coloring) or gravy browning (gravy salt dissolved in water) or ready-made cubes and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts. Canned and instant gravies are also available. Gravy is commonly served with roasts, meatloaf, rice, noodles and mashed potatoes.
- Brown gravy is the name for a gravy made from the drippings from roasted meat or fowl. The drippings are cooked on the stovetop at high heat with onions or other vegetables, and then thickened with a thin mixture of water and either wheat flour or cornstarch.
- Cream gravy is a bechamel typically used in biscuits and gravy and chicken-fried steak. It is cooked with a roux being made of meat and or meat drippings and flour. Milk is added and thickened by the roux; once prepared, black pepper and bits of mild sausage or chicken liver are sometimes added. Besides cream and sawmill gravy, common names include country gravy, white gravy, milk gravy, and sausage gravy.
- Egg gravy is a variety of gravy made starting with meat drippings (usually from bacon) followed by flour being used to make a thick roux. Water, broth, or milk is added and the liquid is brought back up to a boil, then salt and peppered to taste. A well-beaten egg is then slowly added while the gravy is stirred or whisked swiftly, cooking the egg immediately and separating it into small fragments in the gravy. Called rich man’s gravy in some areas of the southern US.
- Giblet gravy has the giblets of turkey or chicken added when it is to be served with those types of poultry, or uses stock made from the giblets.
- Mushroom gravy is a variety of gravy made with mushrooms.
- Onion gravy is made from large quantities of slowly sweated, chopped onions mixed with stock or wine.
- Red-eye gravy is a gravy made from the drippings of ham fried in a skillet or frying pan. The pan is deglazed with coffee, giving the gravy its name, and uses no thickening agent.
- Vegetable gravy or vegetarian gravy is gravy made with boiled or roasted vegetables. A quick and flavorful vegetable gravy can be made from any combination of vegetable broth or vegetable stock, flour, and one of either butter, oil, or margarine.
- 1/4 Cup Fat Butter, oil, meat drippings
- 1/4 Cup Flour AP
- 2 Cup Broth Chicken, Beef, Turkey, Veggie
- Salt / Pepper To taste
- Herbage optional
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the fat.
- Whisk in the flour in small additions, until hot and bubbling, ~ 2-3 minutes
- Whisk in stock in small additions, whisk until smooth
- Add optional herbage / flavorings, simmer until thickened, ~5-10 minutes
- Taste and season, Salt, pepper, spices
- Serve hot
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