08 March, 2006

Recipes - Gravy

I know that lots of people know how to make gravy, but I was not one of them, so here is the simplest possible recipe.

Gravy is mandatory. The fat is the good part of any meat. Simple as that. Yeah, I have read what the health boards say, but they are wrong. Really. Fat is good, and throwing it away after cooking it out of a helpless piece of meat is just plain thoughtless. Besides, all the flavor is chained to the bottom of the pan! Making gravy just releases that flavor to fulfill its purpose in life. How could you not?
  • Drippings from almost any meat.
  • 1 cup of milk (give or take - science this ain't)
  • 1-2 forksfull of flour (I use ground whole wheat - hard winter, rye, whatever. It does not have to be 'white all-purpose flour').
  • Seasonings
Start the drippings boiling.

Add the flour to the cold milk, and mix it good. Here is where you end "lump" problems.

Add seasonings to the boiling drippings. Salt and pepper are the traditionals, but you can add anything from there. The safest is to add "poultry seasoning" to chicken drippings, "pork or grill seasonings" to pork drippings, etc., but there're a lot of valid options. (Yes, I am a batchelor, and I eat anything but sweet potatoes.) I've learned that most normal people avoid fennel seed in their gravy, but it was a cheap lesson. A) I still liked it, and B) nobody else HAD to eat it. It was just gravy. The key point is to season it like you mean it, because gravy has to be strong to carry the day on potatoes or rice.

Mix in the milk and flour. Keep stirring, but it's not going to burn or stick very easily, and after that first good stir there will be no lumps. Once it starts to boil again it will thicken. After a minute or so you can add more milk to thin it or more milk+flour to thicken it more. It will thicken as it cools, too, so err toward thin.

1 comment:

Danny Kaye said...

Do you ever make any stocks from you're chicken and beef bones for your gravies, Codepoke?

When done right, you get the blessing of the liquid stock, and a bunch of fat that you can skim off the top after it cools.

If you would like some tricks of the trade I am more than willing to share them. (I posted in another comment that I was a chef for 20 years.)