How to Make Good Gravy

 

If you are hosting the Thanksgiving festivities tomorrow and have struggled in the past to make gravy that tastes good, you are not alone.

I come from a long line of women who make really, really good gravy. Unfortunately, that gene seemed to have skipped right past me.

For years, I struggled to make gravy that either:

1. Did not look and taste like thin gruel

2. Did not look and taste like lump paste

I watched my Mom and Grandma make excellent gravy with seemingly no effort at all. I copied what they did and still my gravy turned out awful.

Finally, my most wonderful mother-in-law, who also makes good gravy, showed me how she does it. Suddenly, there were choirs singing and people rejoicing (that would have been Captain Cavedweller). I was a gravy-making maniac.

A simple recipe is:

2/3 fat from drippings

2/3 cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

water

Remove turkey from roasting pan. Pour drippings (turkey juices and fat) from pan into strainer over small bowl. Skim 2/3 cup fat from top of drippings and place  in heavy saucepan or cast-iron skillet. If there is not enough fat, add enough melted butter to fat to measure 2/3 cup. Reserve remaining drippings. If you have excess fat, discard.

With a wire whisk, rapidly beat flour into fat in saucepan. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. This will removing the starchy flavor from the gravy. Remove from heat.

Measure reserved drippings together with broth; add enough water to equal 5 cups liquid. Gradually stir broth mixture into flour mixture. Heat to boiling over high heat (5 to 6 minutes), stirring constantly. Boil and stir  an additional minute.

You can salt to taste.

Here are a few tips for making tasty gravy so you can leave behind the gruel and paste-like creations.

  • Keep it lump-free by using a wire whisk when adding the flour to the drippings. Beat it fast and furious to keep lumps from forming.
  • Measure accurately. Too little fat can make the gravy lumpy; too much fat can make the gravy greasy
  • If you don’t have enough drippings, you can use water from cooking potatoes.
  • If you have plenty of pan drippings and like lots of gravy or are serving a crowd, just double or triple the recipe. This is necessary with our family! My Dad would eat gravy on everything, given the opportunity!
  • For thinner gravy, decrease meat drippings and flour to 1 tablespoon each.

If your gravy is greasy, put a slice of fresh bread on top of the fat for a few seconds to absorb it; remove bread before it breaks into pieces.

Despite your best efforts of removing lumps, if you still have some stragglers, you can pour gravy into a food processor and process until smooth, or press gravy through a strainer. Return to saucepan and heat before serving.

If your gravy is too thin, dissolve 1 tablespoon of flour in 2 tablespoons of water then whisk into gravy stirring constantly and boiling for a minute.

For some reason, if your gravy ends up too salty, add a raw peeled potato, cut into pieces to the gravy pan. Cook and stir  about eight minutes, then remove potato pieces.

Wishing you lump-free, perfect gravy as you celebrate Turkey Day tomorrow!

She Who Wishes you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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