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Let’s Talk Gravy!

Posted by in Holidays, Kitchen Talk

Welcome to part 2 of Kitchen Talk this week! Today, we’ll talk about gravy. Because gravy’s where it’s at, friends. So here we go:

Why do they call it gravy? Is it very, very somber? Is it so delicious it could raise the dead?

Share your answers below! Inquiring minds want to know.

Just kidding. (I’m not doing that again, promise.)

 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Gravy!

Gravy. Luscious, rich gravy. I know I confessed that roasting a turkey is not my favorite thing to do in the kitchen or even my favorite thing to eat, but gravy is another matter altogether. I’ll rarely pass up gravy. I love it on mashed potatoes, on burgers, fries, meatballs, biscuits, plain rice, and pretty much anything you put on my plate. Homemade gravy is the best, and can elevate even a mediocre bird to star status. So tell us:

What are your favorite tips for making gravy?

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Gravy!

If you despise liver and the mere thought of it makes you gag, you can skip to the next paragraph. If you’re on the fence about it, my tip is to give it a chance because I think it adds such a deep, meaty flavor to gravy. Most folks can’t get past the idea of liver bits in their gravy, so what I do is make gravy the usual way but leave it slightly loose. When the gravy is done, I whisk in a tablespoon or two of pate, then take the gravy off heat. If I’m really feeling naughty, I’ll sauté some chopped mushrooms in a little butter until browned in the edges and throw that in the gravy as well. And if I’m feeling naughty and crazy, I’ll throw the sautéed mushrooms and pate into a blender with a cup of the loose gravy and blend it until smooth. I mix that into the gravy with a touch of cream and sherry because I like to live on the edge. Then I tell everyone I forgot to make gravy and keep it all to myself.

Nanci’s favorite tip is to use the drippings from the fresh roasted turkey and make the gravy right at the end before serving. She says if you’d like to have extra broth for the gravy, you can boil the neck and giblets (except the liver) in a little water with salt and pepper. She typically brings the giblet mixture to a boil then lowers the heat to low and cooks that for 2 hours. If you need to thicken your gravy, Nanci says remember never to add dry flour or cornstarch directly into the hot liquid. Mix some flour or cornstarch with a bit of cold water before adding it into the hot gravy, drizzling it in slowly and whisking rapidly. She prefers flour instead of cornstarch because she feels it has better flavor for thickening gravy.

Betsy’s tip is one she learned from Ree, and that’s to use low-sodium chicken broth. She says it’s a must, especially if you brine your turkey. She adds, “When you make the roux, make sure to let it brown well before adding the other liquids. You don’t want that raw flour flavor.” Her sister-in-law likes to add a glug of half-and-half toward the end just to give it a bit more creaminess, and Betsy agrees that it can’t hurt any.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Gravy! (The Best Turkey Gravy Ever, submitted by TK member Amanda of I am Mommy, I am Baker)

Finally, Tasty Kitchen member Amanda has a great tip for making The Best Turkey Gravy Ever that I can’t wait to try. (Click on her gravy photo above to get the printable recipe, though really, it’s so genius yet incredibly simple that you probably won’t even need to print it out.) Her tip involves basting the turkey with bacon grease one hour before it’s done. That’s it. Then you make gravy your usual way, and I can already imagine the kind of flavor that bacon grease will add to the drippings.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Gravy!

 
How about you? Do you have any favorite tips for making gravy? Let’s share!

 
 

10 Comments

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Chelsea on 11.11.2013

The secret to my gravy is a healthy dose of red wine. I fry up the giblets in butter to get some nice brown bits of flavor in the pan, then I remove them and add the pan drippings from the bird and red wine. Let the alcohol simmer out and add good chicken stock and then a flour/water slurry. Occasionally I will add finely diced onion after I fry the giblets. Using bacon fat sounds fantastic as well.

Inesa on 11.9.2013

Hot Stuffing right from the bird or dressing if we are having fried turkey.

Elizabeth Fitzmaurice on 11.9.2013

I can’t say this always works for me but it’s how my Grammy and Mom taught me to do it. No matter what you’ve roasted, remove the meat, skim off excess fat, while leaving a fair amount to work with. Sprinkle flour all over the pan, especially on top of the puddles of fat. DON’T TOUCH IT. That’s always been my biggest downfall, stirring it too soon. Let it brown over a medium-low heat. Meanwhile, fill your tea kettle with water and bring to a boil,.

After you can see (and smell) the flour browning, very slowly start to stir the flour with the back of a big spoon. Kind of like making it into a paste and scraping up the bits adhered to the pan. After doing this for a bit, start to add the boiling water….just a very little bit…stir some more. A little bit more boiling water….stir…..a little bit more. On and on. It definitely takes awhile but when it works, man, is it good.

That’s how I was taught to make “real” gravy. My Gram and Mom were true gravy snobs and apparently so am I:)

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Nancy @ Coupon Clipping Cook on 11.8.2013

I love these gravy tips and can’t wait to try them. I’m definitely gravy challenged.

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slickquilter on 11.7.2013

I don’t care for all the additives in dry mixes or gravy in a jar so make mine from a simple roux of flour and seasonings mixed with the drippings in a large skillet. I will occasionally saute finely chopped onions and/or mushrooms in the drippings before adding the flour. I heat the liquid, usually a mixture of homemade chicken, turkey or giblet stock and milk or cream to almost boiling before adding to the roux, stirring constantly to keep the mixture from curdling. It is important to cook the gravy well so I make it while the chicken or turkey is ‘resting’ prior to carving.
I didn’t like gravy as a child or young adult but once I had southern biscuits and gravy I was totally hooked. Bacon (or ham) fat/grease makes the absolute best gravy so I keep all the bacon drippings in a jar in the fridge to use as needed. Now I’m hungry for mashed potatoes and gravy!!