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Friday, September 19, 2014

Gravy basics

In case someone who doesn't cook stumbles upon my blog... a word about gravy. 

Gravy doesn't come from a packet of powder or a can. To make gravy, brown your meat in a pan. A heavy pan, preferably cast iron works best. Browning is accomplished by washing, thoroughly drying and salting the meat, then searing/frying the surface of it in a little fat - that means, lay it in a hot pan, with the pieces not touching each other and leave it there, not moving it around, until it has visibly browned, then turn over and brown the other side. Once browned, remove the meat or push it of the sides of a very large pan. You can then brown some onions in the fat and meat drippings if you like. Push the onions to the sides of the pan. 

Once that is done, add a little more fat if necessary (and it will be with lean meat). Cook a tablespoon or two of flour (depending on how much gravy you want to make) in the fat until it smells cooked/nutty, not like raw flour and slightly brown. Then, add either water or broth (chicken, beef, even veg broth) - a cup or two total (depending on how much flour you used - about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring it into the four until there are no lumps and everything is a beautifully smooth and brown gravy., making sure to scrape all of the the meat and onion bits off of the bottom of the pan and into the gravy. Then, add your meat back in (if desired) and slow cook everything together over low heat, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. 

A word on fat: suet (beef fat) is always the best fat for frying, because it adds richness, without adding much flavor on its own and has a high smoke point. However, you might want to use bacon fat - just be sure to add less salt since the fat will be salty. Olive or canola oil would be fine, but not as good. Butter would not be a good choice, because it burns quickly. Lard, chicken or duck would be better than butter. Remember though, too much or too little fat will ruin gravy. Too little, and your gravy won't come together, too much and you'll have greasy gravy. When you are browning your ingredients, if things start to stick, add more fat. If it looks greasy, add more flour.

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful distillation of a lifetime of wisdom in these sentences. Read deeply, live deeply and eat deeply.

    TR

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