Making Good Gravy, My Hardest Post

Thinking about my last post this afternoon I realized that I shouldn’t just voice my goofy opinions on gravy and wine sauce, I should tell exactly how I make my gravy. Realized that just because I find it easy others may not find it an easy thing to make. Thought back to the first gravies I made, they weren’t near the gravies I make now. Yes in my last post I did mention a few key things needed to make good gravy and in other posts I have made I did bring up the reasons I break rules in roasting meat. So bits and pieces of how I make my gravy are spread out around my site. Time to put it in one place and tie everything together. Realized quickly that this was going to take me a few hours and I would have to post it tomorrow rather than this evening.

Will start with the roasting an why the temperature you roast at is such an important thing. Here in Manitoba we have a number of different websites from government agencies and turkey producers that tell you how to cook a turkey. Will admit the first time I roasted a turkey I followed their rules and the turkey was cooked well. Problem was the gravy was terrible. Talked to my mother and first thing she asked was did I scrap the brown bits from the sides of the pan. There wasn’t any following the rules I had read. She said , you  cooked it at to low a temperature and that was why the gravy was bad. The recipe I read at the time said to roast it at 325, all the recipes I have seen since still say the same. That doesn’t work for making good gravy, it’s too low and the fat doesn’t brown. It’s the same with other recipes also, you get well cooked meats but not good gravy with the temperature they suggest. Since I am a goofball I tried different things until I found a temperature that gave me a well cooked meat and the browned fat needed for a good gravy. I just salt and pepper the meat, no fancy things because everything will end up in the  gravy. If for example you stuff a chicken with oranges the gravy will have an orange taste. For pork I do put garlic cloves in the pan and for roast beef finely diced onion, that is what my family likes. So let’s get started with making gravy.

Turkey. If stuffed roast at 350 for 20 minutes a pound unstuffed 16 minutes a pound. Cover pan tightly with foil, remove for the last hour of cooking. This will give a great looking bird and the browned fat you need. The turkey is never dry and if I hadn’t of screwed up I could of showed you how good it looks. Easter’s coming so I can replace the missing picture.

Beef. Roast at 350, thickness is the deciding factor for the time. A 5 inch thick roast will take 22 minutes per pound, add 4 minutes more per inch over the 5 inches. There is no way to get gravy with a tiny roast, a thick minimum 5 pound roast is the smallest you can use. Always cook in a dry pan uncovered. These times are for medium roast, use a meat thermometer until your comfortable with the times because oven temperatures vary a little.

Pork. Roast at 350 for 25 minutes a pound uncovered. Start with a half cup of water in the pan, after an hour add a little more water as needed. You want the fat to brown but not burn the water keeps it from burning, pork fat has a low burn temperature than beef or turkey. After the first hour check it every half hour. Again you want a thick minimum 5 pound roast.

Chicken. Basically the same as pork, except you use the lid from the roasting pan to cover it and the time is 17 and 14 minutes per pound. Remove the lid half way through the cooking. You need to check often to make sure that there is just enough water to keep the fat from burning.

Now on to the actual gravy making, it doesn’t change except the quantity of flour, water, salt, and pepper goes up depending on the fat in the pan. If the amount is less than a half cup I use stock rather than water. Now if you are as old as I am you should remember a product called shake-a-pudding. It was a desert and you could get a plastic cup thing to make it with, much like a cocktail shaker, that is what I still have and use. A blender works best, but I just like my shake-a-pudding cup. Just tip the roasting pan and take a good guess at the quantity of fat in the pan, your going to add water to get the thickness of the final gravy you want so a guess is fine.

For every half cup of fat this is what you need.

2 cups of water or stock

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Water first in blender then everything else, blend until smooth

Place roasting pan on a stove burner and scrap the browned bits from the edges of the pan into the fat. Turn burner on to medium, add the contents of the blender. Whisk continually until it thickens add more water or stock until it is the thickness you want. Add Kitchen Bouquet a little at a time whisking until it is as brown as you want it. Taste a spoon full of the gravy and add more salt and pepper as needed. When gravy starts boiling reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 20 minutes stirring with a large spoon every couple of minutes. This gives you a smooth gravy with no lumps everything time. It’s doesn’t matter whether it’s beef, pork, chicken, or turkey gravy this works even with my onion gravy I make for roast beef.

Kitchen Bouquet is what I have used for all gravies for over 40 years. Most North American grocery stores carry it and it is available on line. Cool thing about it is that has been around for about 140 years. I didn’t think when I decided to do this post that it would take me this long to do it. It’s has been worth the time if it helps anyone.

 

About Graham Stewart

This is me on a bad day.
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