Mess Level: Low
Yield: 10 Servings
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 20 min
- 4 Cups Stock
- ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
- ¼ Cup Butter
- 2 teaspoons Poultry Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- Drippings from meat (optional)
Note: If your drippings are pure fat, substitute them for part of the butter. If they’re more liquid, just stir them in when you add the stock. Get all your ingredients measured and ready to go. If you have time, heat the stock till it’s hot but not boiling.
- In a pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add any meat drippings if using. Then immediately dump in all the flour and whisk it in well, you are making a roux. Whisk until the roux is thick, this may happen immediately or take up to a minute.
- When the roux is thick, carefully pour in half the stock and whisk until the gravy thickens.
- If your stock is cold, you’ll want to increase the heat to medium-high. You must bring the gravy to a boiling temperature for the roux to activate and thicken it but keep whisking along the bottom of the pot or else your roux will burn to the bottom and your gravy will never thicken.
- Keep in mind if you’re constantly whisking you may not see bubbles but the gravy will get hot enough to thicken anyways. Just believe, keep whisking and turn up the heat if it’s taking forever!
- When the gravy is thick, pour in the other half of the stock and then whisk constantly again until it re-thickens.
- When you’re gravy is thick, turn the heat to off and whisk in your salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Taste and adjust as needed. Enjoy!
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Why won’t my gravy thicken?
- It can't take the heat...
Two possible reasons 1) You did not bring your gravy to a boiling temperature. It must reach a boil for the roux to activate and thicken the sauce. 2) You did not stir the bottom of the pot and the roux scalded to the bottom, losing all its thickening ability.
How do I fix my gravy if I burnt my roux?
- Put the duck tape down!
Taste the gravy, make sure it doesn’t taste burnt. Then begin a roux again in a separate pot and carefully pour the gravy in while whisking. The burnt roux will stay stuck to the bottom of the old pan and the new roux will thicken the gravy like magic!
Do I need to make my own stock?
- We won't tell anyone...
Homemade is always nice but you may use any stock you like including vegetarian! The more animal fat you have, the more robust tasting your gravy will be but you can make a delicious gravy even if you have store-bought stock and no drippings.
Do I have to use butter?
- It's better with butter baby!
No, any fat will work though I recommend butter for its flavor. The ideal combo would be half butter, half turkey drippings but you can make a good roux with any fat!
Why do my gravys come out bland?
- Don't worry it's not genetic...
You likely just need to adjust a few things. Use butter or animal fat for the roux, add any drippings or juice you have from the meat and don’t forget to salt! My other secret is poultry seasoning. Even if you’re making a completely vegetarian stock poultry seasoning will make it taste like turkey.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
I remember the first time I had to make a gallon of gravy as a prep cook at The Kitchen Bistro and I scalded the roux to the bottom of the pot and the gravy wouldn’t thicken. I was mortified but the Sous Chef matter a factly dipped a spoon into the watery gravy, tasted it and said: “It doesn’t taste burnt, start a roux in another pot and pour the gravy on top.”
I was dumbfounded, you can do that? Turns out you can and the things I learned by making mistakes are by far some of the most valuable cooking tricks to have up one’s sleeve. I’m so pleased to share those tricks with you, sans the hours of labor in a working kitchen.
Because what IS Thanksgiving without gravy? I need it to fill the pool in my mashed potatoes, pour it over the turkey and sop it up with a roll. Gravy makes everything better and a brown gravy is a wonderful thing.
But by the time comes to make the gravy, everyone is hungry and anxious and if you’re in charge of the meal you’re likely scrambling to get the turkey carved, the dishes rewarmed and someone’s fingers out of the mashed potatoes all while trying to make a gravy that you’re not sure of and that’s no fun for anyone.
So roll up your sleeves, get out your whisk and a glass of wine and be prepared to become the nonchalant gravy expert you were meant to be. Be sure to check out the Learn the Lingo below the recipe for extra troubleshooting tips!