Making gravy.

So many variables! Right now I’m making roasted paprika chicken and the drippings do not make for tasty gravy, in my opinion. So I made what I guess would be called giblet gravy with the innards bag, only not really because I don’t chop the innards into the gravy.

I guess it’s chicken broth gravy because I boil the bag contents with a piece of carrot, onion and celery. I add Bell’s seasoning, salt and pepper and when it reduces enough for me, I strain it. I also have home made chicken stock AND home made chicken stock that I let simmer for forever until I get a gel. A spoonful of that and enough stock to make two cups.

Now here’s the part that I always get wrong. The ratio of fat to flour to liquid. My family likes really thick gravy and I can never get it quite right. Two tablespoon of fat and flour to a cup of liquid is what I’ve settled on but even that is too liquid but if I up the flour there’s a good chance I’ll get pudding instead of gravy. Haven’t resolved this problem yet.

Missi has made ham gravy. It is a thing I’ve never heard of but, man, does it go good with ham. It is sort of clear in color and obvious to me that it is made with corn starch and not flour. Any good recipes out there for this?
Good gravy, there are so many things to look out for. What is the perfect ratio? When do you use starch instead of flour? How do you get super, duper dark beef gravy without using Gravy Master? Please, give me all your gravy tips!

Onion gravy is my go-to gravy. It’s essentially just caramelized onions (REAL ones, the kind that take 40 minutes to cook) with just enough beef broth to make it liquid-y, and just enough flour to give it a thickened gravy-like consistency. If I have any fresh herbs I’ll toss them in but I never do.

I am so going to try this!

You have to make gravy? I thought it just comes when you cook the meat. (rimshot)

Now that that’s over with, if your gravy is too thin, can you either keep cooking it down to thicken it, or maybe add just a soupcon of cornstarch?

I don’t have the perfect ratio but will be watching for that. However I always use red wine, which should help to darken it.

Make a roux with flour and fat. You can use pan drippings or oil or butter. You can stir that into your broth but it works best adding the broth to the roux. Just get the fat hot in a pan and stir in flour until you have a thick paste. Let it cook a little while but you don’t have to brown it for chicken gravy. You may not use all of it, but adding it later allows you to control the thickness instead of guessing the amount of flour to use initially.

It’s always easy to thin out gravy with more liquid so just make it thicker than you think to begin with and thin to your desired consistency. Remember that gravy thickens as it cools though so you want it a bit thinner in the pot than your ideal serving consistency.

It’s important to cook your flour roux long enough for 2 things to happen. First, you want to get rid of that nasty raw flour taste. Second, you want the fat to absorb well into the flour, so that when you add your liquid, it won’t lump up. For these reasons, I never add a flour paste mixture to an already-liquid mixture.

Roux is also a gorgeous thing for adding additional brown color to your gravy. Cook it low and slow and watch it turn golden, the gradually darker and darker. Once you’ve got it where you like it, add your liquid. You can even add it all at once – your roux won’t lump up. Stir and simmer until it attains the thickness you like. I agree with Roderick Femm that you should cook it down to thicken it up.

Gravy is wonderful and versatile. You can add wine for depth of flavor (I often do), or cream or milk for a richer gravy. My rules for cornstarch v. flour mostly have to do with whether I’m starting from a braising liquid (cornstarch) or pan drippings (flour).

For rich, dark color, it’s all in the drippings. This is usually for beef gravy. Onions are indeed lovely for creating the fond that makes gorgeous dark, flavorful gravy. You can also roast beef bones when making your stock, and that will darken up your resulting gravy considerably.

Hope there are some useful tips here.

How do you make something that takes only ten minutes take forty minutes?:confused:

There is a real difference between onions crisped up real fast and onions slowly melting into sweet onion molasses. Both are delicious but they aren’t the same.

You can actually make the melty sweet kind in about 10 minutes, but it takes a bit of paying close attention. (ETA: Also, if you have a pressure cooker, there’s a nice easy method you can use to make them in there; but the best idea is, if you are doing one of the slower methods, make way more onions than you think you’ll need. They freeze quite well for future use.)

No, I’m talking about proper caramelized onions. High heat, butter and onions, no suger or anything like that, onions have enough already. Pay attention, don’t disturb onions too much and deglaze with a splash of water before onions burn. Let liquids absorb into onions, rinse repeat. Sure, you shouldn’t overcrowd the pan, but you could make four batches in the same time anyway, if you need that much.

+1. Here’s a rather snarky video demonstration from one of my favorite chefs on the Web about caramelizing onions quickly.

He does add a little bit of sugar to it to help the caramelization along, although I don’t find it necessary, either.

The only instruction I see missing in the above help is that the fat to flour ratio for the roux is 1:1. Once the roux has cooked to the desired color, then add the liquid (stock, water or dairy) and whisk in until you reach the desired consistency. If you accidentally add too much liquid, just cook the gravy until some of the moisture boils off.

I work in a VERY french club…what is this “gravy” you speak of??


I make gravy by adding Bisto to boiling water. Easy peasy :slight_smile:

That was a horrible video. What he got at the end was a pile of burnt onions with a light brown sheen on the outside but none of the deep rich flavor that you actually want from caramelized onions. Not only that, he did it via a cheffy restaurant technique that’s included in none of the recipes that promise caramelized onions in 10 minutes.

I still maintain that Slate is more right on this one than Stella Culinary.

I have to agree about that video. Those are nice and toasty fried onions but they are NOT the melted, dark brown goodness that you get when you slowly carmalize. The onions in that video would go good on burgers but not so much in onion soup. And probably not so good in the onion gravy either.

You’ll just have to experiment, the ratios are a guide but it takes a little practice. I like a good sausage gravy over biscuits and hash browns now and then, and wanted to learn. It’s easy but there’s a bit of an art to make the fluffy sausage gravy, as God intended.

Browning the flour in the fat is important as somebody mentioned. Otherwise it tastes like wallpaper paste. But not too much, or it will lose the thickening properties. Keep your recipe size consistent while you get your groove down. For biscuits and gravy I settle on the “2” rule, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons fat, and 2 cups half&half. Milk works OK, but arf&arf makes for a lot better gravy. Some people use evaporated, canned milk, but I’d use that camping when nothing else might be available.

Onions are good. A very small amount of maple syrup is OK, do not use “maple flavored” sausage for making gravy. Blech! Salt to taste, and white pepper, and definitely a bit of cayenne for some zip. Chicken bouillion is often used in lieu of plain salt, and is good. Another thing to try is a little bit of freeze dried coffee mixed in towards the end.

Two words: sage and fennel.