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
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!