There is something magical about an amazing, rich gravy over mashed potatoes and meats. If made right, it should be silky and rich with amazing depths of flavors. On today’s Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer I’m going to share with you my no fail steps to making perfect gravy every single time.
After your meat has finished roasting or cooking and set aside to rest you need to get also crispy little tidbits off the bottom of your roasting pan. That’s where the core of your flavor will come from. It’s the sweet spot when it comes to gravy mastering. Set your roasting pan over top of your burners, medium high heat. When you see the little tidbits start to sizzle and the little bit of liquid/fat in the pan start to bubble you need to add in about 1 cup of your stock. Using a wooden spoon start scraping those little tidbits up from the bottom of your pan and into the mix.
Separate the Fat from The Good Stuff
So now that you’ve scraped up all of those nuggets of awesomeness you need to separate the good from the bad. I use a gravy separator. If you don’t have one, pour all of the liquids (and scraped up bits from the pan into a container. Pop it in the fridge (or freezer) for about 30 minutes and in that time the liquids will cool down and the fat will harden and rise to the top. Ideally you want to end up with about 1/2 cup of fat and about 2 cups of pan drippings. If you have less no worries as you can add unsalted butter. Once hardened, place your fat into a medium sauce pan and set your pan drippings aside.
Make the Roux-
A Roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces. Once you separated the fat, place it in a saucepan over medium, medium – high heat. When the fat is melted and hot (again you want about 1/2 cup so if you don’t have that add butter). Next, while holding a whisk add in about 1/2-3/4 cup flour. You’ll cook the mixture for at least 5 minutes while whisking. You want to cook out that flour taste. The deeper/longer you cook your roux the more deep and rich the flavors. I tend to cook mine for about 10-15 minutes.
Adding the ‘sweet spot’ –
While your roux is bubbling, whisk in your reserved pan drippings. This will form a thick paste.
Bringing it home (adding the stock) –
Once you have your paste, you want to slowly add in your stock. For 1/2 cup of fat I go with about 4 cups of stock. As you are adding the stock you need to whisk together. You need to whisk and pour slowly so to not get lumps. The longer you cook your gravy the thicker it’ll get.
Season to Taste –
Taste the gravy as-is and then if need be, add more salt, pepper and any additional seasoning.
Additional Notes –
Whisking in a TBL of butter or heavy cream just before serving will give gravy a rich, satiny texture.
Gravy Gone Wrong and How to Fix it
Lumpy – So what causes it? Well one cause is the direct dumping of dry flour, cornstarch, or other thickener into the hot stock or broth. Another: adding broth too quickly into a roux—the flour-fat mixture that some gravy recipes start with—which can cause clumping or a gluey layer on the bottom of the pan. So if your gravy is lumpy (and not because it has pieces of veggies and or meat in it), pour the gravy through a sieve or strainer. You can also puree it with an immersion blender or, very carefully, in a regular blender.
Too Thick – Often people will add too much flour/cornstarch/roux to make gravy and it ends up almost congealed it’s so thick. To think it out add in a bit more stock (or water) while whisking with the heat on.
Too Thin – If it’s too thin make a slurry of equal parts flour and cold water. Bring gravy to a boil; add flour mixture slowly into gravy until it thickens, whisking constantly.
Too Salty – To reduce that salty taste, chop up a small potato and stir it into the gravy. Continue to stir and simmer the gravy for about 15 minutes, then remove the potato pieces. The potato will absorb the excess salt.
Flours Matter – Have you ever made a gravy only to find that it developed a ‘skin’ on top? To prevent this you want to use a flour that is low in protein such as Cake Flour or All Purpose Flour.
Potato Flakes – If you’re out of flour, instant mashed potato flakes will work as a thickener for gravy and produces no lumps.