Dear Home Ec 101:
How do you make gravy? Does it all come from a jar?
~Dry in Dover
There is a knack to gravy, but it’s simple to make once you understand the secret.
When the meat (roast, chicken etc.) has finished cooking, pour all of the drippings* into a fat separator. These are one of the few kitchen gadgets I highly recommend. You’ll need to have 2 cups of liquid for this recipe. If there wasn’t enough in the pan, you might add stock, canned broth, or bouillon and water.
*Be sure to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom. These are packed with flavor!
Heat 2 1/2 TBSPs of fat (skimmed from the drippings) in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup flour, constantly stirring with a wooden spatula*. If you don’t have 2 1/2 TBSPs of fat, butter or bacon grease can be used in addition to or instead of skimmed drippings.
*You can use a rubber one, but I find it easier to break up any lumps with a wooden one.
The fat and flour will make a thick paste, keep stirring it over medium heat until the roux (that’s what it’s called) darkens several shades. This step eliminates a pasty, floury taste. Your arm may get tired, but keep stirring. Call in a stunt double if you have to.
Now, very slowly add 2 cups of the broth/pan drippings to your roux. Start with just a few tablespoons and stir them in completely. Add a little more and stir that in. Each time you add broth, you may add a slightly larger amount. If you add the liquid too quickly, you’ll end up with lumpy gravy, so be patient, Daniel-san.
Once all of your broth has been stirred into the roux, bring the gravy to a simmer and season to taste. I like to add a little extra of the herbs used to flavor the main course.
Remove from the heat and serve.
Congratulations, gravy, just like Grandma used to make.