Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Good Gravy!!

Gravy. Some folks pop open a can or a jar and call it good. Some folks think it is an impossible thing to create... The truth is, it's easy as pie! Well, easier than pie... I think pie can be kind of tricky! :)

Wanna learn how? You are going to LOVE this...

You will need:

-a roasted turkey with plenty of juices in the pan
-some canned broth (chicken or turkey), just in case
(Pan juices and canned broth together, look for around 4 cups)
-a stick of butter
-a half cup of flour
-seasoning to taste (salt and sage, especially)

Here is what I do...

I use a gravy separator. This is a special measuring cup that allows the fat in pan juices to separate from the usable broth. This is really handy when making turkey! On Thanksgiving, you will need a lot of gravy. So, after the turkey is done, I move it to a platter and collect the juices in my separator. When we talked about making turkey, I told you that I add several cans of broth to my turkey pan. I want a lot of pan juices so I can be sure to make enough gravy. I keep a couple of cans of broth on hand too, in case I do not feel like I have enough juices.

While the juices separate, I start the roux. The roux is the best way to ensure a smooth gravy, lump-free! How do you do it? Easy, peasy! In a saucepan, melt a stick of butter. Once it is melted, sprinkle a half cup of flour into the saucepan. Keep the heat on... about medium. Stir this butter and flour mix and watch it carefully. You are making a paste... though it will be a bit softer than a paste. As it cooks, it will foam up and you will stir it and it will settle down again. What you are trying to do is cook the flour. Cooked flour will add a nice, almost nutty, flavor to your gravy. As this cooks, you will notice it starting to change to a darker color. I usually let this cook, while I stir, until it is a light caramel color.

By now, my pan juices have separated and I can see the juices on the bottom of my separator and the fat on the top. I do not need the fat in my gravy. Slowly and carefully, I start to add the juices to the roux. It will bubble up quickly and it will be HOT... be careful. (I wear oven mitts.) Watch the separator while you pour so that the fat stays in the cup and only the juices are used.
Stir constantly.

Now, once you have used all your pan juices, look at the gravy. Is it the consistency you enjoy? The thickness or thinness of gravy is a personal decision. You might not even need all your pan juices. Watch as you stir. If it is still too thick after your juices are added, begin using canned broth. Stirring constantly over low heat, keep adding broth until your gravy is as thick as you would like it to be.

I keep my gravy over low heat until we are ready to eat. It is the last thing I put on the table. Be sure to taste the gravy before you serve it. You can add some salt, pepper or sage to taste.

You can use this same recipe to make any kind of gravy, at all. I use this recipe for our weekly Sunday dinner... though for a regular meal like that, I use a half stick of butter and a quarter cup of flour. I do not need nearly as much gravy on a Sunday as I do on Thanksgiving day. :)

This gravy recipe is easy and always turns out well. I have tried the water and flour gravy and the cornstarch gravy but the flavor of roux gravy is so much richer! Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Blessings on your day!

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