Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:29 pm Post subject: Gravy
Hope everyone who does Thanksgiving has enjoyed it!
I'm fairly new to gravy; didn't grow up with it (it's kind of Anglo-Saxon, I think, and I'm European) and the only time I've had it has been at a British friend's house, where thick, brown salty stuff with the consistency of custard is served in jugs alongside equally stodgy bread sauce. It is Bisto, and while it is nice, I'd like to make my own. I could live without gravy, but a certain someone I know really likes it, so it would be nice to tackle it. The only time I've tried to make it I ended up with boiled onions...
James Martin has made some on British TV with marmite, Bisto and onions, but what are your tips - or, indeed, recipes (!) for excellent gravy? And indeed, what is an excellent gravy - is it light and saucy, or as substantial as my friend's?
Also - this is slightly separate - since gravy is made with pan-drippings from a roast, how can I make a gravy ahead of time? I noticed a post on make-ahead turkey gravy and thought it would be nice to do the same for chicken. The reason is that I have a tiny oven that fits ONE roasting tray and ONE chicken (just about), so I pop the chicken on a rack and vegetables underneath to roast...
Hopefully I'll have gravy under my belt by Christmas!
Joined: 10 Nov 2009 Posts: 41 Location: Chicago suburbs
Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:50 am Post subject:
Hi Alana! There's a cooking show here in the states that might be able to help--"America's Test Kitchen" developed a recipe for a make-ahead, go with everything gravy that seemed pretty easy. It used onions, flour, and both chicken and beef broth, but I can't remember the recipe. Hope this helps. _________________ "Food is an important part of a balanced diet..." Fran Leibowitz
Joined: 21 Aug 2007 Posts: 552 Location: Central Kentucky
Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:48 pm Post subject:
Alena, don't know if it's available by you, but in the States there's a product called Wondra Flour that's designed specifically for such applications as thickening gravies. It's ground finer than regular flour, so readily dissolves without lumps.
Alana, I'm pretty sure this is the recipe Mmel'ours is speaking of from "America's Test Kitchen". I've made it myself twice with fine results--would not hesitate to serve it to guests. If I were using it on chicken, I'd probably increase the amount of chicken broth and decrease the beef broth, but it's very tasty and balanced just the way it it.
1 small carrot
1 small rib celery
1 small onion
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
5 whole black peppercorns
I'll paraphrase the directions--
chop the carrot, celery, and onion (by hand or machine) into 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces and add to hot butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. Cook, stir often, until vegetables are soft and nicely browned--7 minutes or so. Turn down the heat and add flour, stirring constantly 'til this mass is browned--about 5 minutes. Then whisk while pouring in the broths. When it boils, reduce heat and add bay, thyme, peppercorns. Simmer about 20 minutes until reduced to 3 cups. Strain well.
KYH--I don't think Wondra flour is "ground finer" than other flour, I've read that it's "pre-gelatinized" and "granulated"--though I have no idea how that is done! Emeril Lagasse and Sara Moulton have both called for it in certain recipes.
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 Posts: 307 Location: Far, far away
Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:20 pm Post subject:
Our American Thanksgiving gravy:
Use the giblets from turkey (neck, heart, etc., but NOT liver or not much of it since a bit too strong) to make a rich stock, stovetop: add celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf, sprigs of parsley, 1 clove, couple of peppercorns, a little salt and simmer a long time until deeply colored and reduced; you're roasting a big bird, after all, and there's time. Some people buy an extra wing or other extremity of fresh turkey to throw in and enrich stock.
Roast done? Let it rest on carving board as you make a roux. You know, melt butter and stir in equal amount of flour, cooking for a couple of minutes at least.
Strain giblets and other solids out of pot and off heat, slowly, gradually pour a portion of the giblet stock into roux, whisking all the time to avoid lumps.
Quicker alternative for those scared of roux: take small screw-top jar and add cornstarch or Wondra. Pour in some of the giblet stock. Screw on top. Shake. This will be your thickener, instead.
Pour juices from roasting pan into a spouted measuring cup and strain out fat.
Then, put roasting pan on top of stove, turning on heat below.
Pour the reserved stock and strained juices into roasting pan, scraping as you go to loosen all the gorgeous, crusty bits that contribute most of flavor.
The liquid in pan will be thin, but dark. Pour this into the roux slowly, gradually, then continue stirring until the desired consistency. Augment with a little apple cider, cognac or other liquid of choice for different flavor.
If going the raw-thickener route, slowly pour contents of your jar into crusty-pan-bit-funked-up giblet stock which you've returned to the pot in which you made the stock in the first place. Add a little at a time, stirring till thickened and glossy. If too runny, be conservative, but repeat the shake-the-Wondra-in-the jar-w-liquid step, and add only the amount of this that you need to reach glossy-thickened state of gravy excellence.
Thank you! This all gives me a lot more to work with. I'll try a make-ahead gravy to ease into it, and 'graduate' onto something more complex, I think!
I like in the UK, and while I've never seen Wondra, I have heard of 'sauce flour', which is apparently super-fine flour similar to the description. Admittedly I've never seen it. It's used for roux and things here.
My grandmother made gorgeous gravy and I've never really found anything comparable (bistro gravies have always tasted like cafeteria food to me) and hers was really simple.
Roast a chicken slowly so that you get heaps of pan drippings (no stuffing). When chicken is cooked there should be lots of globs and bobs on the bottom with some liquid. Add a bit of hot (boiling) water and cornflour, stir over hot plate till gravified.
Lucious. It's simple. You can add a bit of salt and chicken stock if you need to to pep it up but otherwise the juices should be concentrated enough. Some people like to add a bit of white wine as well but I've found it to take away from the chickeny flavour.
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