How To Make Gravy
There are two methods to making a smooth and easy gravy. It’s much easier if you prepare or purchase a good turkey or chicken stock a few days ahead of time. Below you’ll find a recipe for home-made chicken/turkey stock if you prefer to make your own. Make it ahead of time, refrigerate for three days or freeze for up to three months. This will also make it easier to remove any fat that has congealed on the top.
The thickening agent in an easy gravy is flour, you could use cornstarch but if you cook it too long the cornstarch will start to break down. The two methods are Beurre Manie or Roux. Both can be made ahead of time and both can be refrigerated for weeks or frozen in to ‘logs’ and then you can cut off any amount you may need for your dish.
Both methods require equal amounts of fat and flour, usually butter. Use approximately 1 tablespoon of either mixture per cup of liquid/pan drippings. Any pan drippings should be added to the stock before adding the thickener. If you’d like to defat the pan drippings, pour off liquid and put into the freezer until it begins to harden, about 10 minutes, scrape the fat off the top of the drippings and add the liquid to any stock you are using. Bring to a boil and add thickener as described.
So on to the recipes!
Beurre Manie (Kneaded Butter)
In this case the thickener is added to the hot or boiling stock.
½ cup butter, unsalted and room temperature
½ cup flour
Place butter into a small bowl and mash flour into the butter with the back of a spoon until completely incorporated. Bring your stock to a boil and add Beurre Manie while whisking until thickened.
Also equal parts butter and flour but the stock or pan drippings are added to the hot melted roux.
Per cup of stock/pan drippings:
1 – 2 tablespoons butter
1 – 2 tablespoons flour
Add butter to a sauté pan and when melted, whisk in flour at all once, keep whisking until thickened and the flour has a chance to cook a little, maybe 1 minute. Add hot liquid while whisking into the roux.
Neither of these methods will result in any clumping as the flour has already bonded with the fat and will melt smoothly into your sauce.
Here’s a good basic ‘Enhanced Chicken Stock’ recipe: