Originally Posted by pacanis
Yes. I should have saved it. Maybe made some mashed potatos today and tried to hone my gravy making "techinique". I say technique because me making gravy is as far away as you can get from skill
Gravy primer 101:
Gravy comes in one of two categories, flour based, starch based. When using flour, there are two possible methods for making gravy. In my opinion, the best is to make a roux.
Simply put, a roux is a combination of flour and fat, in equal proportions, and is cooked together to form a paste. The roux can be made with redered fat, as from beef, pork, or poultry, with cooking oil, or with butter. It is cooked to a desired color to obtain a particular flavor. If the roux is simply made hot, and let cook for 30 seconds or so over medium heat, it will impart very little flavor to the gravy and will be simply a thickening agent. But the flour will have some flavor, so keep this in mind. AFter the roux is made, and is bubbling happily in the pan, the gravy is made by adding a flavored liquid, such as meat poultry, or fish stock, or broth, a little at a time. As the liquid is added, it needs to be vigorously whisked into the rough. The initial result will be a thick past. You might think you have ruined your gravy at this point. But don't worry. As you continue to whisk in more liquid, the paste will thin, and liquify into a silky-smooth gravy. After the gravy is made, remove from the heat and correct the seasoning with salt, peper, or whatever herb & spices you want.
Also, with the roux-based gravy, cooking the roux for more time will give you different color and flavor profiles. As the roux begins to brown, it aquires an almost nutty flavor. The darker the roux (don't burn it of course) the stronger the flavor. So you can change the gravy as you need by simply cooking the roux to the desired color, flavor.
The other method for making gravy with flour is actually a bit more difficult, but less complex. Take three or four tbs. of flour and place into a deep bowl. Add enough water to form a dough. When all of the water has been absorbed, add a bit more and continue to stir, again until it's all absorbed. Continue this process untill you make a smooth slurry, or wet paste. Slowly pour this slurry into boiling stock while whisking vigorously. Let boil over low heat for a bit, while stirring, to allow the slurry to thicken the broth or stock into a gravy.
If you try to make a slurry by dumping the flour into a half glass or so of water, you will end up with little lumps that are very difficult to get rid of. This is usually the cause of the dreaded LUMPY GRAVY
. Bay slowly adding the liquid to the flour, and allowing it to absorb completely, you elliminate the lumps and are rewarded with wonderfully smooth gravy. And the slurry gravy needs to cook for a bit, to get rid of the raw flour flavor. Again, when the gravy is done, correct the seasonings.
My wife far and away preffers a cornstarch based gravy to a flour gravy. I like both. But I have to admit, the cornstarch gravy is more true to the flavor of the original stock or broth than is the flour based gravy. And, its much more simple to make. Here's how to make it.
Mix 2 to 3 tbs. of cornstarch with a half cup of water. You can put the cornstarch in the water all at once without worrying about lumps. Stir with a for or spoon until the slurry is smooth. Slowly pour the slurry into the boiling stock or broth. The broth will thicken into a perfectly smooth gravy. Correct the seasoning and serve.
The other great thing about cornstarch gravy is that if you haven't made inough to get the gravy as thick as you'd like, just make more slurry and sitr it into the gravy. Just be sure to let it cook for a minute or so, so the cornstarch will thicken fully before deciding if you need to add more slurry.
Hint, if you are making a beef gravy, the addition of something like Washington's Deep Brown Sauce (a powdered gravy packet with wonderful flavor), or other additions such as beef soup base will add color to the gravy. Cornstarch is very pale, almost clear when it is cooked.
For a poultry gravy, adding some tumeric will add both color and a great flavor to the gravy.
Follow these tips and you will be rewarded with perfect gravy, every time.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North