Exactly How My Mom Makes Her Awesome Gravy.
I’m trying to be timely!
I’ve got to tell you that my mom is the gravy queen. She makes some of the best, non-lumpy gravy I’ve ever had in my life. And not only that, but she has made strong points about gravy since I was a kid, most notably sharing her favorite college snack of french fries and gravy. I think that is the first time I ever heard of food described as “sinful.”
One of her specialties is an old-school turkey or pot roast sandwich on white bread, literally SMOTHERED in gravy. Now that is some real comfort food.
This is exactly how she does it! This is a simple, basic method that is a little boring to see in photos but seriously WORKS. Here, she simply roasted a smaller turkey breast. But this is the exact same way she makes gravy for a whole turkey (the gravy usually ends up darker), chicken (the gravy looks similar to this), pot roast (the gravy is much dark, obviously since it’s beef) and so on. Her method is super simple and just requires a lot of stirring, some seasoning at the end and patience patience patience. This gravy also reheats very well – and she will make HUGE batches at a time for tons of leftovers.
Depending on how many people she is feeding and how much gravy she wants, she often adds a bit of stock to the bottom of her roasting pan before cooking. This way she ends up with more gravy than what the drippings would provide, and the stock is flavored with the drippings during roast time. She says she adds about 1/4 inch of stock. It’s an eyeball thing!
After removing the bird, she strains out any loose pieces of meat, pouring the drippings into a saucepan or pot. If she is roasting a large turkey on a roasting pan, she just might pick out any loose pieces with kitchen tongs. She likes to use the same pot or pan that she roasted the meat in, that way you get all the goodness of the brown bits on the bottom. It’s up to you whether you want to use a new pan or the original one.
After that, she begins to heat it over medium heat.
Next, she adds three heaping tablespoons of flour to 16 ounces of COLD water. She says three heaping tablespoons, I say more like a full 1/4 cup. It is something I believe that you learn to eyeball over the years of making gravy. The key is adding the flour to the cold water, not the other way around. SO – don’t add the flour in the cup first. Cool? Cool.
Supervision is key. Obviously.
After adding the flour to the water, she shakes the HECK out of it in that shaker bottle. We are talking for at least 30 seconds, but probably closer to a full minute. I have found that this is the best way to make a slurry and used this method a lot while developing some healthy yet creamy crockpot soups for my cookbook.
Shake shake shake!
Next up, she pours the slurry into the drippings that are in the pot over the heat.
Then she begins to stir. And basically, NEVER STOPS. No really. My life has been threatened if I stop stirring.
I’m not sure if I can fully explain the extent to which my mom stirs and whisks her gravy. It takes a long time. There have been Thanksgivings when I feel like my arm is going to fall off. Someone is always stirring, so if you need your hands for something else, find other hands and make them stir. For real.
DO NOT STOP.
The gravy will begin to thicken and become, well… gravy. You will know when it’s at gravy status. You know?
It’s still over medium heat, but it’s boiling and bubbling away. After her 15 to 20 minutes of stirring, she sets it to low and that’s where it stays until it’s served.
Before serving, she tastes it and seasons the heck out of it. Don’t be afraid to season it – it will need a good bit of salt and pepper to taste like GRAVY. Just continue to taste and add. We do not measure, considering she likes a lot more salt than I do. Just taste and season. It will also depend on if you use stock, how much sodium that stock has, and so on. Lots of factors, but not difficult ones.
Um, also, can I say at this point, please don’t add yellow food coloring. Ha. Mother Lovett always added yellow food coloring to chicken gravy… was this a thing back then? Apparently her reasoning was that since it’s chicken “it’s supposed to be yellow.” Uh, since it’s chicken, shouldn’t it just be the color that it is naturally?? Yes please. Okay good. I love you.
Oh and P.S. -> are you a gravy drizzler or a gravy smotherer? Like does your entire plate swim in gravy? Or just a few spoonfuls here and there? I’m a spoonful/drizzle girl. Shocking, I know.
How To Make Gravy
- the drippings from a turkey, chicken, etc (be sure to add extra stock BEFORE roasting if desired)
- 16 ounces cold water
- 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper!!!
- Strain the drippings from the roasting pan into a large pot or saucepan and set it over medium heat. Add the cold water to a shaker bottle (or water bottle/mason jar) and add the flour on top. Shake the heck out of it for 30 to 60 seconds, until the flour seems completely incorporated and creates a slurry. With a whisk or fork in one hand, pour the slurry into the drippings, sitting constantly with the other hand. Continue to stir to avoid any lumps and stir until the gravy has thickened, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Make sure you are scraping the bottom of the pan.
- Taste the gravy and season it to your liking. Set it over low heat for serving. My mom stores her extra gravy in the fridge for about a week. To reheat it, she places it in a saucepan (it will look disgusting) and adds a touch of water or stock. She heats it over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s back to it’s original consistency. Like soups and sauces, it often tastes better the next day!
Today, I’m smoking a turkey so I can tell you about it. And I’m making the trashiest gravy ever. Ohhhh you so can’t wait. !!!!!!!!!!!!!