The start to any good chicken gravy is a good stock.
I make my own chicken stock. I keep chicken bones, skin, and othe scraps in a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer. When I run out of my previous batch of stock, I'll make some more with the chicken scraps, a quartered onion, a few celery stalks, some garlic, etc. I'm not to crazy about using carrots in my chicken stock, so I leave those out. I get this to a simmer, skim off the foamy junk (impurities), and cover the pot, then simmer it overnight. In the morning, I strain out the scraps, reduce the stock by half, chill it, then freeze the stock in ice cube trays. I'll then store those in gallon ziplock bags in the deep freezer. I usually get 2 - 2 1/2 bags of ice cubes of chicken stock from a batch.
Then the process starts all over again.
I usually make gravy when I roast a chicken. I roast my chickens in a 12" cast iron skillet. Once it's done, I remove the chicken to a large plate or platter. I caramelize the drippings to a nice dark brown color. Then I pour off as much of the chicken fat as I can. After that, I deglaze the pan with my home-made chicken stock, using a ratio of two ice cubes of stock to 1 c of water. I usually make about a pint of gravy. Stir the liquid in the pan, scraping up all the browned drippings and allowing them to dissolve into the stock, adding color and extra flavor. Once that's done, I strain the sauce into a smaller pan. Thicken with some cornstarch mixed with water (usually a couple tablespoons each), then check the seasoning. I'll add salt and pepper as needed. My family loves it.
If I'm making a chicken gravy, and didn't roast a chicken, I'll just use a little stronger ratio of ice cubes to water, say, three cubes of stock to 1 cup of water. I'll season it with thyme, sage, onion powder, garlic powder, ground dried celery flakes, paprika, salt, and ground black pepper. Thicken and use.
KFC used to have the best chicken gravy in the world, back before the good Colonel was bought out. I have no idea what the recipe was, but I do know it involved making cracklings from either chicken fat and/or chicken skin. The resulting grease was incorporated into the gravy.
From fried chicken I use part of the drippings I fried the chicken in. Add a couple Tlbs of flour and stir well. (let flour sit in pan a few min before mixing) this will be thick. After flour is mixed well add milk slowly while stirring. Stir until well blended.It's like making a medium white sauce. I then add a can of cream of mushroom soup and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. For a roasting chicken gravey I use the drippings, add a little more chicken broth if needed. I use a med size jar to mix flour and cold water in and shake until well blended. After drippings come to a low boil pour flour mix in slowly while mixing. Stir until thicken. Hope this helps some.
Thanks for this great treatment, Allen. I love the ice cubes idea. I've bookmarked your recipe to try next time. But I'm curious: Why don't you like carrots in your stock? I've always followed the standard advice -- mirepoix, celery-onions-carrots -- without thinking about it too much. What is there about carrots that you disfavor?
Overview: After cooking your whole chicken, pour the juices from the bottom of the chicken pan into a frying pan. Then put medium heat on it and add flour, spices and milk in just the right way.
Time: 25 minutes.
-The juices from a cooked chicken.
-Flour - regular white flour. Or try whole wheat, oat, kamut, and others.
-Onion - any kind you like.
-Spices - curry powder, secret seasoning mix (oregano, basil, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper). Or experiment. Have fun!
-Secret ingredient (soy sauce, don't tell anybody).
-Milk - low fat milk. Or use whole milk, goat milk, soy milk, rice milk.
When your chicken is done cooking...
-Pour the nice juices into a frying pan.
-Throw in 1/4 of an onion, finely chopped.
-Heat it up on medium and let it cook for about ten minutes (depending on your heat) until the onion is browned.
Get it ready for the milk...
-Now you put some flour in there, about one heaping tablespoon. The exact amount depends on how much drippings you got from your bird. You want enough flour to soak up the oil in the pan. You are aiming for a pancake batter consistency.
-Stir it up for awhile until its all mixed.
-Cook it for a few minutes.
-Throw in some spices. I use about 1/4 tsp. of my own curry powder and 1/3 tsp. of my secret seasonings mix.
-Stir constantly for 30 seconds while the spices cook.
Pour the milk slowly...
-You have to be careful because if you pour the milk too fast you'll make dumplings.
-Your heat is still on medium. You can turn it up hotter if you want, for now.
-Pour a little milk (maybe 1/8 cup) in the pan and stir it in all the way. Then pour a little more, etc., until your gravy is a little thinner than you want it.
-Drop a little soy sauce in there- about a teaspoon.
-Cook it for five minutes, stirring almost constantly. You have to cook it for awhile to cook the flour. Otherwise the flour won't thicken it up as efficiently and it will taste grainy.
-Sing hallelujah, you just made some awesome gravy!