When I was a little girl, my grandfather took care of the gravy making. He used the drippings from whatever meat my grandmother was serving, and heated it over the burner until it was just right. Then he would take his trusty silver cocktail shaker and combine flour and water in it, pouring it into the drippings little by little until it was just perfect.
Making gravy this Thanksgiving? Here’s how to take the loose, flavorful drippings and/or broth and make it into a perfect, thick gravy.
1. Decide on your thickener. Typically, gravy is thickened with either cornstarch or flour. Both have their pros and cons. Cornstarch is easy, since it doesn’t clump when it hits hot liquid. But you have to be careful, because cornstarch will thicken over the course of a few minutes – and if you add too much, you will end up with gel-style gravy. On the other hand, flour makes that thick, opaque gravy that you are used to seeing. But it’s finicky and clumps super easily. I typically opt for cornstarch.
2. Mix the thickener with an equal amount of water. Do this in a tightly sealed container and shake well until combined. Make sure the flour or cornstarch fully incorporates with the water. Start with roughly 1 tablespoon each thickener and water.
3. Heat your gravy base. This might be drippings or stock or even canned broth. Any of them can work. If you go the canned broth route, toss in a few whole fresh herbs while you are heating it up – it will give it great flavor. You want to heat it to boiling and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Whisk in the thickener a little at a time. If you are using cornstarch, stop adding more when the gravy starts to feel ever-so-slightly heavier. It will thicken more on its own. If using flour, add more until you reach the desired consistency.
4. Season and finish preparing the gravy as desired.
See? Easy peasy.
Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah’s Cucina Bella.