Gravy From Scratch aka, How to Make a Roux

November 23, 2016 , In: Cooking , With: No Comments

 With US Thanksgiving coming up, making gravy is on a lot of people’s plates (pun intended). Rather than just using a package of gravy thickener, why not try making real gravy from scratch?

Before cornstarch, Bisto, and gravy packages, most gravies and thickened sauces were made with a Roux (pronounced “roo”). Roux is a mix of fat and flour that’s cooked until blended, and then used as a thickener for sauces.

The recipe? Equal parts fat and flour. The fat is usually butter, but you can use bacon fat, vegetable oil, or any other fat. For a small batch, it could be a couple tablespoons, or if you’re feeding a huge family, as much as a cup each of butter and flour.

1280px-roux_biancoPut the fat into a saucepan and heat on medium until the fat is melted. Slowly sprinkle the flour over it and stir, until they’re combined. The result should be a wet paste. If it clumps into chunks, you need to add more fat. Let it cook for 2-30 minutes, stirring gently, depending on how dark you want it.

The more you cook a roux, the more it will darken, and become more flavourful, but the less it will thicken a sauce. Cajun roux is cooked until brown, and pretty much doesn’t thicken at all, whereas a white roux is only cooked for a few minutes, but doesn’t have much flavour. Once the roux has reached the desired consistency, slowly add liquid to it, stirring constantly. For a gravy, this would be water with drippings from a turkey or roast. You can get a great measuring cup that separates the fats from the drippings. Add some liquid, stir, add a little more, stir, and so on.

462171444_8227668533_bYou can also make the roux ahead of time and refrigerate it. If you’re doing this, then take the water and drippings and put them into a pan and heat to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, then add the roux. Reduce heat to low, and gently whisk until thickened.

So, yeah, this isn’t the most low-fat gravy ever, but it’s ridiculously tasty, uses good fats, and hell, it’s the holidays and having a real gravy is worth it!

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