Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Foolproof Gravy

Gravy seems to be one of those kitchen mysteries for many people. Really it’s just a simple pan sauce and with a few helpful hints you’ll be making gravy like a pro.

Standard Turkey Gravy 
Makes 4 cups.

1/4 cup fat (reduced pan drippings)
1/4 cup flour (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrow root powder)
4 cups chicken or turkey broth, homemade is preferable
salt and pepper to taste
good-quality wine vinegar, optional

When you have finished roasting your turkey, remove it from the pan along with any onions or other vegetables you may have cooked it on. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked vegetables so that you leave as much jus (drippings) in the pan as possible.

Place the roasting pan over a couple burners on your stove top. Reduce (simmer) the drippings over medium-high heat until you have about 1/4 cup left in the pan. 

Lower heat to medium. Add 1/4 cup of flour and whisk until the flour becomes a smooth paste. Don't panic if there are lumps, just keep whisking!

Very slowly, add chicken broth to the flour paste while whisking constantly. Don’t be afraid to stop adding broth for a moment until you can whisk the mixture smooth. The key to smooth gravy is constant whisking.* Continue to whisk until you have added all four cups of broth. If you like other flavors in your gravy, such as pureed giblets, fresh herbs or wine, feel free to add them at this time. Reduce heat and simmer until the gravy reaches the desired thickness. 

Finish with salt and pepper to taste. Now, if your gravy is good but not great, here's a little chef trick to try: add a splash of good quality wine vinegar. Try as little as 1/4 teaspoon at first. Sometimes rich sauces benefit from a little bit of acidity to brighten the flavor!

*If you do end up with some lumps in your gravy, simply pour the gravy through a sieve before serving. No one will know the difference!

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