Saturday, December 06, 2008

Gravy breakthrough

I made Thanksgiving dinner today for K since he didn't get any last week. (He stayed here while I traveled to Bismarck.) Until today, I'd never made decent gravy. For 20 years, I've been making gravy as my mom taught me, like this:

1) save the potato water;
2) pour your turkey pan drippings into a fat separator and pour off the fat and throw it away;
3) return the non-fat pan drippings to the pan and add some potato water;
4) mix flour and some water vigorously to get a paste and slowly add that to the drippings/water, with lots of stirring to try to avoid lumps;
5) simmer to desire consistency.

But that was all wrong. Pouring off the fat and throwing it away is all wrong. Instead, I should be thinking of the flour/paste as a roux. Roux, of course, if made of flour and FAT, in equal parts. So instead, today, I made gravy this way:

1) save the potato water (or heat stock);
2) pour the turkey pan dripping into a fat separator and pour the fat into a sauce pan; estimate how much fat you have and slowly add an equal amount of flour, to the fat, stirring constantly. Can continue to cook this to brown it (stirring constantly and being careful on to burn it) to deepen the flavor (as you would for a roux for, say, gumbo), but for turkey gravy it's not necessary.
3) meanwhile, deglaze the drippings pan with a splash of white wine, then add the pan drippings and some of the potato water (plus chicken bouillon cube) or stock; simmer a bit to reduce and concentrate flavors;
4) slowly add drippings/water to the roux.
5) YUM.

Good thing the gravy was fabulous, since I dropped the casserole of yams on the floor.


Scooter said...

I've never successfully made gravy but I have dropped stuff on the floor.

Stephanie said...

I forgot to mention that the yams were blazing hot. I must give myself and Karma the Dog pats on our backs for all the hours of training we've done; her reliable instant sit/stay prevented a worse mess than I had. Without that, she might have gobbled up a yam, burned her mouth, and tracked sugar+butter+yams all over the house.