Making Gravy from Scratch

Making gravy does take some effort, but once you understand how the ingredients work together to produce a texture that's smooth and rich, you may find yourself planning meals around pan drippings just because. With a little practice, you can turn out homemade gravies in as little as 10 minutes. Keep your eye on the stove though, if you'll be making gravy with whole milk or cream-too much heat or too little stirring can lead to scalding.

How to Make Meat Broth Gravy
When you bake a roast, turkey or chicken, there should be juice in the bottom of the baking pan. Pan juice is the most important ingredient in delicious meat-based gravy. You will also need flour, water and a bit of patience.

The amount of gravy that you need will be dictated by the number of people you are serving. The amounts in this recipe will serve six to eight people who love gravy and like to pile it on their plates. For a bigger group of dinner guests, simply double all of the measurements.

After you have removed your meat from the pan, pour the meat juice into a bowl and set aside. Now gather your ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 to 1½ cups of meat juice from baking pan
  • Salt and pepper

Making the Gravy
Mix the flour slowly into the cup of cold water. It is extremely important that you use cold water and that you are very thorough in mixing the two ingredients. Hot water will cause the flour to lump. If the mixture isn't blended together well, the addition of the hot meat juice will also cause the flour to lump up.

Once the flour and water mixture is blended together, it is time to add the broth. Put the broth in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour mixture very slowly and stir the meat juice continuously while you do so. This should help you avoid that embarrassing, lumpy gravy.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Now, after all that effort you've put into making gravy from scratch, showcase your finished product in a vintage gravy boat.

Poultry Scrap Gravy
Using juice for making gravy sounds simple, but what happens when you don't have juice in the bottom of the baking pan? If this happens, you can use the scraps from the turkey or chicken to make a broth. All you need to do is simmer the heart and liver in a saucepan of water for an hour. (You can also add gizzards and necks to the pot.) Then strain off the juice. Set the poultry scraps aside for another dish or discard them.

Once the broth is ready to use, look at the pan that the poultry was baked in. While the juices were cooked up, there should still be some drippings on the pan's bottom. You'll need to scrape them from the pan and add them to the broth. They will help add more flavor and brownness to the gravy. From this point, making gravy follows the steps in the meat-broth recipe.

Breakfast Gravy
If you are a fan of those calorie-laden Southern breakfasts, why not learn to make the traditional country breakfast gravy that covers biscuits, steaks and virtually everything else? Breakfast gravy gets its rich, creamy texture from whole milk, which replaces the water or broth in traditional meat-based gravy.

Here's what you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons meat drippings
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper

Put the meat drippings in a saucepan over low heat. Mix the flour gradually into the meat drippings. Then slowly add the milk. Make sure you continue to stir the mixture. If you don't stir it, the milk could scald or boil over. Simmer the gravy until it thickens to a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Some people like to make their gravy even more thick and creamy. They do this by substituting cream or cream of mushroom soup for half of the milk.

Once the gravy has thickened, you can serve it over biscuits, grits or chicken-fried steak for a delicious old-fashioned breakfast everyone is sure to enjoy. If your guests aren't used to a Southern breakfast, however, you may want to serve it in a small dish on the side of the plate so they aren't overwhelmed by something so rich at the start of the day.

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