When it comes to the holidays, what is your favorite part of the festivities? For most of us, the highlight of our day is time spent with loved ones while savoring a lovingly prepared feast – topped with the perfect gravy!
There’s just something about gravy that inspires luminaries like Erma Bombeck to proclaim:
I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage!
Since I was raised on the best gravy one could make out of a package, I never understood people’s obsession with gravy until I met my husband – a master gravy maker. The first time I tasted his homemade gravy – during our first Thanksgiving together – I found myself fighting the urge to sneak into the kitchen and eat it by the spoonful!
What do you need to know to make gravy that’s so rich, so creamy, and so addicting that it will make your dinner guests weak in the knees?
Here are five easy tips to get you started on perfect gravy!
Tip One: Pick The Perfect Pan
When it comes to making gravy, a wide pan is indispensable because it provides you with the extra surface area needed to easily mix your ingredients, while evenly dispersing the heat! While our parents relied on their traditional iron skillets to get the job done, we prefer the modern-day convenience of non-stick pans. Our favorite is Caphalon’s 12-inch Everyday Pan that provides a large flat surface area and is deep enough to accommodate large volumes of gravy.
Tip Two: Master The Art Of The Roux
A roux (pronounced “roo”) is a classical French cooking technique that is used to create the thickening agent used as the base in soups, sauces and gravies. Don’t be intimidated – making a roux is easier than it sounds!
To create a roux, simply melt butter on low heat and add flour (use equal parts, based on how much gravy you need). Stir slowly and consistently throughout the process until the desired consistency is achieved.
Tip Three: Whisk Away
In our society, everyone wants instant results – but patience is a virtue when it comes to gravy making! One of the big secrets to creating smooth, luscious gravy is gentle and consistent whisking throughout the process. The actual tool you use to stir or whisk is less important than the act of stirring or whisking itself. We use a long-handled, slotted spoon to stir our gravy – but if you prefer a wired whisk, that’s fine, too!
It’s also important to cook your gravy on low heat throughout the process. This allows the seasonings time to diffuse throughout the liquid and eliminates the possibility of overcooking the gravy!
Tip Four: Eliminate The Lumps
Lumpy gravy is defined as gravy with undissolved flour in the liquid. Delectable seasonings such as meat and vegetables are often added to the gravy for flavor and are considered a good thing! The best way to eliminate lumps is to avoid them in the first place! If you stir your roux and gravy consistently and continuously throughout the gravy-making process, you should end up with smooth and creamy gravy. However, if you end up with lumps, you can always strain your gravy through a sieve and discard any unwanted solids, or process your gravy in a blender or food processor until it’s silky smooth.
Tip Five: Season According To Preferences
We season our gravy based on the meal we are making and based on our family’s taste preferences. For the holidays, we recommend sticking to traditional seasonings and flavorings that everyone is familiar with and sure to love! For instance, if you are serving turkey for the holidays, incorporating a good turkey stock into your gravy makes it extra special. Incorporating the turkey neck and giblets into our stock ensures that nothing goes to waste.
What’s your favorite tip for making perfect gravy? Be sure to share your gravy-making secrets in the comments!