This is a really quick gravy that you can make to go with any poultry, meat, or vegetables. Normally, you’d make gravy with the drippings (leftover fat and burnt on delicious bits) from your pan. But sometimes those drippings are already being used for something else (like in yesterday’s recipe, where I cook the green beans in them). Sometimes you also want to be able to make the gravy ahead of time, which is a big time saver. My mom does a variation on this every Thanksgiving, when she fearlessly serves 20+ people (you know, as a break from her day job, where she serves many more).
Anyway, this recipe gives you a really solid, respectable gravy. It will be better if you use homemade chicken and/or beef stock, but it will also taste great if you use your favorite canned or boxed broth or stock. I like to add a bit of soy sauce, which isn’t traditional but gives you a nice hit of deep savoriness.
makes about 2 cups
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1 small carrot
1 small rib of celery
1 small onion
a couple of mushrooms (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
2 cups low-sodium beef broth, warmed (or use all chicken broth)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (optional – I used it, but I think I’d leave it out next time for a more neutral flavor)
5 whole black peppercorns, or a couple of grindings of pepper
Chop the carrot, onion, and celery, and optional mushrooms into small chunks, about 1/4 inches large (this does not have to be exact. In fact, you can use a food processor if you want).
In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply browned, about 7 minutes. Don’t skimp on this (I set a timer to make sure I give them enough time) as this is where most of the gravy’s flavor is going to come in.
Once the vegetables are browned, add the flour and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes. Add the liquid slowly (stand back – it will bubble furiously at first) and whisk to combine. Add the soy sauce, herbs, and pepper and reduce to a simmer. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, about 30 minutes. Taste for salt – it might need some, depending on how salty your broth was.
Serve immediately or store, refrigerated, for up to a week. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, whisking frequently (you may need to add a bit of water if it seems to thick upon reheating).