Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good Gravy!

Tonight's dinner, pre-carving:

Roast Chicken

Now that I have your attention, and as a follow-up to the previous post, and to add another entry to my Recipes sidebar, let's talk about gravy. We never had gravy growing up, with the exception of holiday meals at grandmother's, and I don't remember liking or disliking it at all. I probably never ate any, as it would have been brown and gooey, and I was a very particular (well, better to say picky) eater.

When we had a beef roast or such, we'd just use the straight juice from the pan, nothing added. This was usually pretty tasty.

Fast forward to college, where I met this guy that eventually became the husband, and he was from a gravy family. And he taught me how to make it. And it was easy. And it was good.

First step - make a roux. What is a roux, you ask? Well, according to Wikipedia, a roux is a cooked mixture of wheat flour and fat. I can't give you exact measurements, as I've been eyeballing it for over a decade now, but I start with a splash of olive oil and a spoonful or two of flour, whisked together in a 12" frypan. I've separated out the pan drippings and juices previously, and strained them into a fat separator, like this:

A fat separator

You let it sit, and the fat rises to the top. The hole for the pour spout is at the bottom. You pour till you've got just a little bit of the juice left, and discard the fat. Easy peasy! They come in a variety of materials. The one I have is just like the one pictured, and is actually made from the same plastic they use to make airplane windows, so pouring hot fatty liquid into it isn't an issue.

I let the roux simmer till it starts to bubble and brown, and then add the juice slowly, whisking all the time, until I go from the thick paste phase to the slightly gooey phase. I then let the gravy simmer some more and re-thicken up a bit while I add whatever herbs and spices I want. If there wasn't enough pan juice, I'll add chicken or beef broth to thin it out to the proper consistency. I've never had a lumpiness problem doing it this way.

Franciscan gravy boat

For chicken gravy, I'll take some roasted garlic and mash it through a sieve, then whisk the pureed tastiness in along with a quarter cup of vermouth, and maybe toss in a sprig of rosemary. For beef gravies, usually adding a little tomato paste if you didn't already cook it in tomato is a good thing. Serve with rice, taters, or egg noodles. Yum!


Jennifer said...

Yummy! I can almost smell it. For me, the fat to flour ration is 1:1 and that makes it pretty easy.

ArtSnark said...

love a good gravy! What time is dinner ;)