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What Is Gravy?
Gravy is the American and British answer to the French brown sauces. It’s typically made with pan drippings mixed with flour and stock, and served alongside the roasted meat that the drippings came from.
Traditional British gravy is thin, more like a French jus, but in the U.S., we tend to thicken our gravy with flour or cornstarch. Make a vegan gravy with mushrooms and vegetable broth, or try Southern red-eye gravy, made with pan drippings and black coffee.
What Is Gravy Commonly Served With?
Homemade gravy can turn the volume up on your favorite meat and carbs. Try it with:
- French fries, as in Canadian poutine
- Mashed potatoes
- Biscuits with ham
- Roasted turkey (use the turkey drippings!)
- Fried chicken
How to Make Gravy Using Pan Drippings
If you’ve cooked meat in a sauté pan, Dutch oven, or stovetop-safe roasting pan, you can make gravy straight in the pan, using the drippings.
- First, remove the meat and any aromatic vegetables and set aside.
- Then, separate the fat from the pan juices with a spoon or fat separator, transferring the fat to a small bowl and the pan juices to a large measuring cup.
- Next, deglaze the pan: over medium heat, add a little red or white wine to the pan, and stir to release all the brown bits (a.k.a fond) from the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the deglazing liquid into the large measuring cup with the pan juices.
- Return the pan to medium heat and add the reserved fat.
- Make a roux: add an equal amount of all-purpose flour to the fat, and cook, stirring, until flour smells toasty and looks light golden brown. Add a little of the reserved liquid and whisk into a smooth, thick paste. Slowly add the rest of the liquid, whisking until smooth after each addition, and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired thickness.
- Season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, or any of your favorite gravy flavorings.
How to Make Creamy Gravy
To make creamy gravy, add a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream to gravy made with pan drippings just before serving. Alternatively, replace about half of the broth or pan liquid with milk.
If you don’t have pan drippings, you can use butter or any other cooking fat to make the roux: melt the butter over medium heat, then slowly whisk in beef stock, chicken broth or chicken stock, or even vegetable broth for vegetarian gravy.
How to Store Gravy
Store homemade gravy in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. The fat may separate in storage, but you can bring it back together: gently reheat gravy in a saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly.
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