Put gravy on even mediocre meat, mashed potatoes, or roasted vegetables; and you transform the vaguely food-like into the tasty. Put gravy on properly cooked and seasoned meat, outstanding mashed potatoes, or expertly roasted vegetables; and you transform great food into the nectar of the Gods.
For some reason, making gravy seems to produce anxiety in some people. Hopefully the procedure outlined here makes sense and looks easy (because it is).
The two leading causes of sub-par gravy in America today are:
1. Failure to cook the flour taste out
We'll cover these issues below.
The nice thing about mastering gravy is that you will also have mastered bechamel or white sauce—which merely substitutes butter and milk for gravy's meat drippings and water.
The below quantities are enough for about 3 quarts of gravy. That's a lot of gravy. I typically make a bunch of it, and then freeze it in ziplocs for use on weeknights when time is a factor but taste cannot be sacrificed.
The basic proportions of gravy are 1 part fat to 2 parts flour to 8 parts liquid. Here's how it breaks down:
- 3/4 cup chicken drippings
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour
- 8 cups water
- Dry white wine
- Herbs (e.g. Thyme)
Heat the drippings from roasted chicken (or turkey) on medium heat. Add the flour. Stir around a bit until it is mixed and forms a pretty thick paste. Add the water. Stir or mash out the lumps. This may take a while... and your gravy may get a little strange looking during the process. Stick with it. Gravy is pretty forgiving stuff.
Cook the gravy for a good 20 minutes to make sure the flour taste is gone (whether using wheat flour or gluten free flour).
Season to taste with salt (plenty, 2-3 tablespoons of kosher salt for this amount of gravy), pepper, thyme, and dry white wine (e.g. chardonnay).
Serve with your favorite mashed or roasted potatoes.