Gravy Two Ways


Photograph by Brian Woodcock

From Summerland by Anne Quatrano

Here are two techniques for making gravy (with
a roux or with a slurry), and each has its staunch defenders. If the gravy is cooked long enough without being allowed to burn, both methods create a rich and delicious gravy without any residual taste of uncooked flour. The roux, made of equal parts fat and flour, takes a little more time and requires several minutes of constant stirring and monitoring. This technique
is beloved in Louisiana and elsewhere—including
in classical French cooking—for the depth of flavor
it imparts. The slurry method is how most of our grandmothers made gravy, and I find it a bit easier. With the slurry method, be sure to cook the gravy until you can no longer taste the flour. Keep it on
the stove for a few minutes more than you think you should, resisting the inclination to stop as soon as the flour is incorporated into the stock.

Giblets from 1 turkey (gizzard, neck, heart, and liver)
6 cups chicken stock or cold water
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
Turkey pan drippings
1 cup all-purpose flour Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Rinse the giblets and place them in an 8-quart stockpot with the stock, celery, and onion. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 1 hour. Strain the stock through a fine strainer into a saucepan and set aside. Reserve the giblets; discard all other solids. Finely dice the gizzard, heart, and liver and set aside for the gravy; discard the neck.

Skim the fat off the top of the pan drippings in the roasting pan using a large spoon and reserve. Place the roasting pan over low heat, add the 6 cups chicken or turkey giblet stock, and stir to scrape up and incorporate the flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

To make the gravy with a slurry: Discard the reserved fat. Mix the flour into 1 1/2 cups cold water in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously for about 2 minutes, until the flour is incorporated without any lumps, creating a slurry. Over medium heat, slowly add the slurry to the roasting pan, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low, continuing to cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

To make the gravy with a roux: Place 1 cup of the reserved fat in a 4-quart saucepan and add the flour. Discard the remaining fat. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook the roux over low heat until the mixture looks like wet sand. Continue to cook slowly for 5 minutes. A little color is okay and will add a toasted quality to the gravy. Slowly add the warm stock from the roasting pan, 1 cup at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition. Continue to cook over low heat until the gravy is thickened.

Strain through a fine sieve just in case there are any lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the diced giblets if desired. Reserve in saucepan until ready to serve; reheat if needed. (The gravy will keep, well covered, in the refrigerator for several days for leftovers.)

Makes 8 cups.