Gravy is a savory staple that no holiday spread should be without. My recipe makes preparing homemade gravy a breeze with only a handful of delicious and aromatic ingredients. Below, I offer some tips on how to make gravy with a smooth and silky texture, and a delectably flavor that store-bought simply can't compare to!
Good Gravy, It's a Homemade Gravy Recipe!
I cannot imagine a Thanksgiving or Christmas spread without gravy. Wouldn't that be a travesty?
When I think of the piping hot mounds of fluffy mashed potatoes, slices of roasted turkey, chicken or beef, the stuffing, the green beans, and the buttery rolls all sitting proudly in their respective vessels without an accompaniment of warm gravy to douse them in, that makes my little heart sad.
Gravy certainly doesn't need a festive occasion to make an appearance, as it can be a scrumptious item to serve on the side of many meals. But for the holidays, I personally find gravy is a must, because it deliciously enriches all of our favorite holiday staples with a touch more flavor, sauciness, and love. 😉
Heck, with its richness and moisture, a good gravy can even help fix certain little boo-boos like over-cooked or slightly dry meat, or potatoes that aren't quite creamy and buttery enough. One could consider it a bit of a delectable edible “concealer”, so bonus points for gravy!
Whatever the occasion, a scrumptious homemade gravy with a smooth texture and a earthy, herb-infused flavor is always a welcome condiment on the table, and the perfect finishing touch.
So if you've ever wanted to master the art of how to make gravy, then I've got you covered with my gravy recipe!
I have the sneaking suspicion that once you taste this one, you may never reach for the canned or boxed version again.
How to Make Gravy From Scratch
Basically, gravy is a flavorful sauce prepared with a stock or broth, a thickener, and some aromatic ingredients.
A good gravy should have some body to it, but not so much that it is “gloopy” or so thick that it doesn't easily pour, and not so thin that it's watery or runny.
You want gravy to cling to whatever it is spooned or poured over, with a smooth, velvety texture and a savory flavor that simply enhances the food items it is being paired with.
These days, one could make a gravy that is gluten-free, or use an alternative thickener other than flour; but my gravy recipe below is a good ol', homemade gravy, using butter as the fat, and flour as the thickener. (The two together are called a “roux”.)
Over the years, I've discovered a few secrets to making gravy having to do with flavor additions and method of preparation, both of which make for a delicious end result.
For a gravy with the most amount of deep flavor, I always recommend that one use a homemade broth or stock, and it should be of the same variety as the main meat/protein that one will be serving the gravy with.
So if chicken is being served, then chicken stock or broth should be used. If turkey or beef is going to be served, then turkey or beef stock should be used, respectively.
However, realistically, homemade stock or broth takes hours to prepare, and many of us don't typically have the time to prepare it, so the next best thing to use is a store-bought stock that is organic and natural, containing very few ingredients other than aromatics and the type of meat it is prepared with.
If using store-bought stock or broth, what I love to do to enrich the flavor is to simmer it, for a short time, with some aromatic veggies such as onion, celery, carrot and even a clove of garlic, along with some fresh and dried herbs for some extra flavor.
Here's a glance at my gravy recipe: (or you can just jump to the full recipe further down...)
- I begin by adding my aromatic veggies and herbs to my stock or broth in a medium or large pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes; then, I strain the veggies and herbs out, and discard them.
- To make my gravy, I add my butter to a clean pot, and once melted, I add my flour, and whisk the two together to make a roux, or thickener.
- I slowly pour my strained stock/broth into the my butter and flour (roux), whisking constantly to avoid any lumps from forming; and when I see that the mixture is smooth, I allow it to simmer for a few moments until it thickens up and becomes a velvety consistency. (At this point, you could strain the gravy through a fine strainer once again if you find that you have any little lumps—this will get rid of them.)
- I finish the gravy with a small flourish of herbs, whisk those in, check to see if any additional salt or black pepper is needed, and keep the gravy warm until ready to serve.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: 4 cups
Nutrition Info: 45 calories (per ¼ cup serving)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 4 ½ cups chicken, turkey, or beef stock
- ½ small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 3 to 4 sprigs parsley
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided use
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 ¼ ounces all-purpose flour (about 8 packed and leveled tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- Pinch or two salt
- Add the stock, the chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic, sprigs of thyme and parsley, and ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning into a medium-large pot, and bring to the boil; once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low, partially cover so some steam escapes, and allow the stock to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- After the 20 minutes, turn the heat off, and strain the stock into another clean pot, discarding the vegetables (you should have about 4 cups of stock now); set the stock aside for a moment, keeping it hot.
- In a large sauce pan set over medium heat, add in the butter, and allow it to melt; once melted, sprinkle in the flour, and stir the butter/flour together to form a “roux”, or your thickening agent; allow the roux to cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute (keeping it a pale color), and then, slowly begin pouring the hot, strained stock into the roux, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps.
- Once all of the stock is added, continue to gently whisk for another moment or so, then allow the gravy to thicken up, about 2-3 minutes. (You can use the wooden spoon method in the “Tips & Tidbits” section to check the consistency.)
- If you see any lumps at this point, then strain the gravy using a fine mesh strainer, and proceed.
- When the gravy is thickened, turn the heat off and add in the remaining ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning, the fresh thyme leaves, the cracked black pepper, white pepper, and the pinch of salt; pour into a serving vessel, and serve hot.
Tips & Tidbits for my Gravy recipe:
- Make your own homemade stock or broth: Ideally, in order to get the most amount of flavor, one would prepare homemade stock or broth; but to save time, opt for a high-quality, organic and natural (minimal ingredient) sore-bought stock or broth. If serving chicken or turkey, use chicken or turkey stock/broth; if serving beef, use beef stock/broth.
- Add some aromatics for added flavor: To make your gravy even more flavorful, chop up some aromatic veggies such as an onion, carrot, celery and clove of garlic, and simmer them in the stock/broth, along with some fresh herbs such as thyme and parsley, and dried Italian seasoning. Then, strain and use this enriched stock/broth for the gravy.
- Whisk until well-blended: A whisk is your best friend for gravy making. When adding your stock/broth into the roux, whisking constantly and vigorously until all of the liquid is added will help ensure a lump-free gravy. And if you still find some lumps, simply use a fine mesh strainer and strain the gravy to remove them.
- Use a wooden spoon to check the consistency: A little trick when preparing a gravy or sauce is to check the consistency using a spoon. A wooden spoon is ideal, but you can also use a large soup spoon. Dip the spoon into the gravy and lift it out, then use a finger to sort of “cut through” the gravy on the back of the spoon. If the line your finger made stays separated, then the consistency of the gravy is perfect; if it runs together again, then it needs to thicken more.
- Prepare ahead for easy homemade gravy: Gravy can be prepared ahead of time—even several days—and kept in a closed container in the fridge until you're ready to serve. The day of, simply reheat it gently until nicely hot and silky again. (It will look thick when cold, but will loosen as it warms.)