Making Homemade Gravy
by Nikki Willhite, www.allthingsfrugal.com
There are some people who just won't eat meat and potatoes without gravy. Others do not eat it because of health issues. This article is not to debate the issue. For those who want to make gravy, here are some tips to make it better.
You can buy a gravy mix and just add water, or you can make it from scratch. Homemade gravy will always taste better than gravy made from a package. However, if you do want to start with a mix, try using canned bouillon instead of water.
The rich flavor in gravy comes from the fat, which comes out of meat while it is slowly cooking. The best tasting gravy, therefore, starts with the quality of the meat you are cooking.
Gravy can be made from the drippings of beef, chicken, or turkey.
For every cup of gravy, you are going to need approximately:
2 Tablespoons of fat
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Cup of liquid
There are several ways to make gravy, but here is the easiest.
After the meat is cooked, remove the needed amount of fat or drippings from the bottom of the pan in which the meat was cooked.
Run it through a strainer or sieve to remove any particles in the fat. Then place the strained liquid in a pan which you can put on
Next you add the flour to the gravy. When making gravy, you always use equal amounts of fat and flour. This is very important, so always measure carefully. If you use too much flour, you will drown out the taste of the fat, which is where the flavor comes from.
Add the flour to the fat, and mix well. Then turn on the heat. Start with very low heat. You must stir constantly. You need to cook this mixture long enough so that the flour is cooked.
The mixture will turn brown and begin to bubble. If you don't cook the flour long enough, it will have a raw taste, and ruin the flavor of your gravy.
The next step, adding the liquid to the fat/flour mixture, is where most people get into trouble. If you just pour the water into the mixture, you may get lumps.
To be safe, bring the water temperature up before combining the two. To do this, first add some of the very hot fat/flour mixture to the water to bring up the temperature of the water. Stir well to distribute the heat.
Take the pan off the burner, and then add the water, SLOWLY, stirring continually.
After the two are well blended, return to the burner, and bring to a boil for about a minute. Be sure and keep stirring, so that the fat does not separate from the liquid.
The flour is what is going to thicken the liquid mixture. You want to stir and cook until you get the consistency you like.
When you make gravy, you cannot leave the pan unattended. Have your seasonings nearby so you can put them in at the end while you are stirring. Even after you take the pan off the stove, it will still keep cooking for a while and will become thicker.
Continue to stir your gravy right up to the time you put it on the table. This is why the gravy is always done last. It is not hard, but it takes you constant attention.
A few other things to consider:
The more spices you add to the meat before cooking, the more flavorful the fat and the less spices you will need to add for flavoring.
Here are some of the ingredients to add with the meat to make a rich, tasty gravy:
If you want to make your gravy thicker, increase the amount of fat and flour that you put into each Cup of liquid. Very thick gravy has as much as 3 Tablespoons of each. Thin gravy only one.
If you don't have enough fat, you can add some melted butter or margarine.
For a rich, flavorful gravy, avoid using plain water as your liquid. Use bouillon or soup stock.
If you are making gravy for poultry, you can add some milk or cream, but be careful that you don't burn it.
If your gravy still comes out with lumps try beating it harder with a wire whisk, blender or Cuisinart. If lumps remain, run the gravy through a colander or strainer. Reheat over low heat, stirring constantly.
Sauces are what differentiate a good cook from a great cook. Find a combination of spices and flavorings that you like, and perfect that homemade gravy.
About the Author:
Nikki Willhite, mother of three, and an Interior Design Graduate, is the editor of The Pennypincher Ezine and Tightwad Tidbits Daily. Visit her at
http://www.allthingsfrugal.com - more than just money!
If you like this article, we'd be honored if you shared it using the button below.