Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Quick Gravy

Mention gravy and my mind will immediately picture a mound of buttery mashed potatoes, with a pool of silky homemade gravy resting in the middle. Or scratch made biscuits, smothered in the stuff. Or thick slices of turkey, made even tastier with a ladle poured on top.

Making gravy is not hard, it's easy, and it doesn't take long either. Please don't buy the jarred stuff, it can't compare to homemade gravy. The foil packets or boxes of gravy mix are subpar too. Homemade gravy is best.

Whenever I make my easy roast chicken, I always serve it with mashed potatoes, or biscuits. And as mentioned above, gravy just makes those decadent side dishes all the more delicious. To make homemade gravy you just need equal parts butter and flour, and most any kind of broth or stock.

I know a lot of people make homemade stocks. That's great and I do from time to time too. But I don't have a lot of freezer space, so I can't make big batches. And I've never been super happy with my stocks.

For my quick gravy I use store bought stock. There are some good ones out there, and many of them are all natural and some are organic. Plus, if you want beef gravy, buy beef stock, chicken gravy, chicken stock, a vegetarian gravy, vegetable stock, and so on. Using boxed stock just makes life easier.

I have a secret ingredient I use in my gravy. Lemon juice. I use just a little, a quarter lemon, about a teaspoon or so of juice. The lemon juice brightens up the gravy and adds another layer of flavor and a little complexity.

The key to making gravy is to add a little stock at a time to the roux, whisking the entire time. As the stock gets absorbed the roux will become silky smooth and lump free. If you add too much stock before you whisk out the lumps, there's not much you can do, so be patient until the roux is smooth.

Quick Gravy:

About 1 1/2 cups good quality store bought or homemade stock
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 fresh squeezed lemon—about a teaspoon of juice (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan on medium high, add the butter and flour and whisk until it comes together. Add the stock, about a 1/4 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Continue adding stock a little at a time and whisking until the gravy has a smooth and silky consistency and is as thick or thin as you like. It will start to setup after you remove it from the heat, so don't make it too thick (personally I think it's better when it's thinner). Once you're happy with the consistency, let it bubble for a minute or two to fully cook the flour. Whisk in the lemon juice, (if using) and salt and pepper and serve immediately.

From start to finish it takes about 6 or 7 minutes tops, and your guests will marvel at your gravy skills.

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