One of the ultimate comfort foods for me is mashed potatoes and a good homemade gravy. I don’t really care what kind of meat comes with it – chicken, beef, turkey, even duck or goose as long as the gravy is done well.
Gravy made from scratch is really the best kind and it’s also super easy. Skip those jarred gravies or the packets of gravy mix you find in the store and make your own.
One of the other advantages of making your own gravy is that the seasonings will match whatever it is you cooked. Perhaps one of my favorite gravies is the one I made to complement my slow cooker pot roast. The pot roast is seasoned with rosemary and thyme and that really comes out in the gravy.
To make gravy you need, butter or other fat (such as fat skimmed from the juice of whatever you cooked), flour, and broth or pan drippings with the fat skimmed off. I use a 1-1-1 ratio. 1 Tablespoon butter/fat, 1 tablespoon flour, to every 1 cup of drippings/cooking liquid. At least as a starting point.
There are two main methods (that I know of) for making a homemade gravy. The roux method and the slurry method. They both use the same ingredients the difference is how you incorporate the flour.
In the slurry method, you mix together water and flour and then pour that into some fat and drippings from whatever you cooked and simmer until it thickens up.
I prefer the roux method which involves cooking the flour together with some fat and adds another nutty taste element to the gravy and is the method I’ll be sharing today.
I like to start with butter because I like the silkiness and richness it adds to the gravy. I melted a couple tablespoons of butter in a medium pan.
Then add in an equal amount of flour.
Whisk this together until it’s nice and smooth. A flat whisk works awesome for gravy. Keep cooking this over medium heat for two to three minutes until it starts to turn a little golden in color. This cooks the raw taste out of the flour and develops a kind of nutty flavor.
Now, pour in some of your reserved cooking liquid from cooking the meat. Supplement with stock if you need to. I made this after cooking a pot roast in the slow cooker so I had plenty of liquid. You can also see the leftover spices from the roast in the liquid.
I used about 2 cups of reserved cooking liquid, but because everyone’s preferences for the thin/thickness of gravies vary, I would recommend starting with a cup or a cup and a half and adding some more. You can always add more to thin.
I also like to start by slowing incorporating that first bit of liquid so I can whisk it nice and smooth as I add the liquid. Once I’ve incorporated it nicely then I’ll add more.
Now, add the rest of the liquid and whisk into the gravy.
Bring to a gentle simmer and allow it to thicken. It takes time and low heat to thicken gravy – high heat can actually get too high for the flour. Just be patient. I also like to taste the gravy at this point and season as needed with salt and pepper. I always taste first if I’ve rubbed the meat with salt so I don’t over salt the gravy.
This can take 10-15 minutes or so, more or less given how much gravy you are making. This is perfect though because whatever roast or meat you cooked probably wants to rest for 15-30 minutes at a minimum before slicing.
If the gravy over thickens, you can thin with a little reserved broth or water. If you just cannot get it to thicken enough go ahead and add make a slurry of flour and water and add a little at a time. Remember to give it time. It will also thicken a little bit after you remove from the heat and it starts to cool in the serving dish so it’s ok to take it off when it’s just a little thinner than you want.
Gravy is definitely a science in how the flour thickens it up, but it’s one of those things that I make like an art and adjust as needed by feel.
- 2 T butter
- 2 T flour
- 2 cup reserved broth/cooking liquid
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes until it becomes golden.
- Whisk in a half cup or so of cooking liquid and whisk constantly until the flour and butter mixture is incorporated. Whisk in the remaining broth (you can reserve a half a cup or so to add to thin depending on preferences) until smooth.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer over low heat for about 10-15 minutes until the gravy reaches your desired thickness. Serve immediately.