Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holiday Prep: Gravy How-To

One thing I've never been very good at is making gravy. So, I had my mom demonstrate gravy making and took lots of pictures and notes. Here's what I've got:

1) Once the turkey (or roast, or whatever piece of meat you're cooking) is done, remove it from the pan. On the bottom of the pan will be a bunch of fat and meat drippings. Pour off the fat, reserving as much of the meat drippings as possible (the fat is yellowish and clear, the meat drippings are brown and opaque). It's better to save a few tablespoons of fat and all the meat drippings, than lose all the fat and some of the meat drippings. But still, the more fat you get off, the better. It will just make the gravy oily.

In these pictures, we are transferring everything from the large, flat turkey roaster pan to a saucepan. If you can, you can make the gravy right in the roaster pan. This roaster is way to large and flat to use on the stovetop. So first my mom pours off all the drippings and fat into a measuring cup and pours off the fat from that. She adds a little water to the roaster pan and scrapes the bottom to release all the beautiful little bits. Then all those drippings go into the saucepan. You DEFINITELY want to scrape up the bottom of the roaster pan to release those drippings. It's called deglazing, and is really where all the flavor is.

2) Add water to make several cups of gravy. You don't want to add so much water that the flavor is thinned out, but neither do you want to run out of gravy! A bigger piece of meat will make a bigger pot of gravy. I'd say about a cup of water per tablespoon of drippings is good. But that's just a guess. We REALLY like to use the starchy potato cooking water after the potatoes are done boiling for our gravy water. Here's my brother Matthew draining a big pot of potatoes into the gravy:
Return the pot of gravy to the stovetop and bring to a boil.

3) Mix and add the thickening. My mom uses a salad dressing shaker to mix hers up. It's about half COLD water, half flour... or to be really smart, use sweet rice flour (available in the Asian section by the soy sauce). Rice flour doesn't have as raw of a flavor, and doesn't separate or get goopy. It also reduces that skin from forming on the top. AND it's gluten-free! Mix your thickening well. If you don't have a shaker, you can use a blender or just a bowl and a whisk. Make sure you get all the little lumps out. Very important.

While the gravy is boiling, slowly drizzle in the thickening while whisking furiously and constantly. Add enough thickening to, well, make it thick enough! Only you know how thick you like your gravy. If it is boiling when you add it, you'll be able to see the final consistency very easily. You might need to make more thickening, so be prepared and don't be scared.

4) Whisk away and bring back to a boil. Make sure you taste for seasonings now. You might need more salt and pepper, or even a little Kitchen Bouquet (a browning seasoning found by the other spices... It's kind of like liquid bottled meat drippings. Good stuff for making gravy).

5) Once it's thick enough, seasoned enough, and looking good, transfer into a gravy boat (or better yet, a pitcher) and pour all over everything! :) Yum.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Glad you wrote this post! I'll admit, gravy scares me just a little bit. :) Mom is super good at making it, so I've never really wanted to try... heh