Help me make gravy

starinastarina Posts: 665Registered Users Curl Neophyte
I have never made gravy in my life and I'd like to learn how. I was interested in how I would make gravy to go with meatloaf. I don't know why, but I just can't figure out how to do it correctly even though I've got a bunch of cookbooks. Please help!
I have 3A hair. I've discovered Jessicurl shampoo and Too Shea conditioner and I'm thrilled! Long-time LA Looks sport gel user.

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  • LikeAustraliaLikeAustralia Posts: 2,812Registered Users
    starina wrote: »
    I have never made gravy in my life and I'd like to learn how. I was interested in how I would make gravy to go with meatloaf. I don't know why, but I just can't figure out how to do it correctly even though I've got a bunch of cookbooks. Please help!

    It's very easy. There are a few methods, but I prefer a roux thickened gravy.

    You start with a roux. A roux is just a mixture of flour and butter and it used to thicken sauces/gravies/soups.

    First, start with 2-3 T of butter in a sauce pan. Melt that and then sprinkle an equal amount of flour into the pan. Whisk the flour and butter together until well combined and then cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes to get the raw flour taste out. Then, simply add 1-2 cups of the broth or stock of your choice. Whisk it so the roux combines with the broth and then let it come up to a boil. As it boils, it will thicken all on it's own. Taste it and see if it needs any extra salt, pepper, or other spices. :)

    ETA:
    Because you've never made it before, I would suggest adding a little bit of liquid at a time and letting it come up to a boil so you can see how it thickens with various amounts of liquid. Just keep in mind, you can always add, but you can never take away. Don't try to add extra flour if it's too loose. If you add flour on it's own, it will just clump up. Just make a thicker batch (less stock) and combine the two.
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  • SpiderSpider Posts: 3,381Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I only make "real" gravy when I have meat drippings (chicken, turkey, beef). Something like meatloaf is usually just grease, so I personally would just use a jarred gravy or mix (plus I like a tomato sauce on my meatloaf).

    For the other roasted types of meats, once they are done cooking and you have a good supply of drippings, seperate the fat from the good stuff. The good stuff(meat juices, bits of meat) put into a saucepan on medium heat.
    I don't measure out but prefer to use Wondra flour for my gravy- it's a bit grainy/sandy and really cuts down on lumps. I add a bit of the Wondra to the drippings, and if after it starts to boil, keep stirring and add more if too runny, until right thickness. The gravy does thicken as it cooks with the flour, so don't add too much in the beginning.

    I add salt and pepper to taste.
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  • Koukla72Koukla72 Posts: 1,680Registered Users
    I like to add a little demi-glace for great flavor, too. It's often added even if you're using drippings, but if you're not, it gives a really nice complex flavor that would be seriously lacking otherwise. It comes in different flavors like duck, veal, even veggie. For meatloaf I'd probably stick to a beef or veal flavoring. It can be a little expensive per container, but a little goes a very long way since it is super-concentrated, and I think it's totally worth it. I don't think I'd even bother to make gravy if it didn't at least have that or drippings in it.

    I came across this demonstration vid on making gravy, and she includes demi-glace. You could add a roux, like Sydneycurls mentioned, in place of the plain butter that she does to make it thicker if you prefer that. And I've never added apple brandy like she does, but it sounds like it'd be tasty.

    Starting the gravy.

    Finishing the gravy.
  • starinastarina Posts: 665Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    You girls are awesome! Thanks for the nice simple directions. Koukla, I will come back later and check out the links you posted.

    So I take it gravy tastes better if you are able to use pan drippings? This may sound shocking, but I don't eat gravy. That's probably why I've never made it, but now I'd like to whip some up sometime for my guy.

    Thanks again for all the info!
    I have 3A hair. I've discovered Jessicurl shampoo and Too Shea conditioner and I'm thrilled! Long-time LA Looks sport gel user.
  • LikeAustraliaLikeAustralia Posts: 2,812Registered Users
    starina wrote: »
    You girls are awesome! Thanks for the nice simple directions. Koukla, I will come back later and check out the links you posted.

    So I take it gravy tastes better if you are able to use pan drippings? This may sound shocking, but I don't eat gravy. That's probably why I've never made it, but now I'd like to whip some up sometime for my guy.

    Thanks again for all the info!

    Well, it tastes better with pan drippings because you get that yummy roasted/caramelized flavor from the meat. I've made gravy with just stock from a box/can though and it tasted great! Try to get the low sodium packaged stocks though and add salt to taste as you're making it. Otherwise you risk getting too salty.

    Also: This isn't for meatloaf, but I add some lemon juice to gravies when I make it with a roast chicken. Mmmmmmm, yum!

    HTH :)
    Not Cindy or Sindy or Syndey or any other such abomination.
    It's Sydney, like Australia.
    Formerly known as SydneyCurl.

  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Gravy is easy, but if you do a roux you have to watch it & whisk it so it doesn't burn. I let it go darker brown for beef, and a caramely color for chicken turken. You can also add small pieces of mushrooms, onions and spices like sage.
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  • rainshowerrainshower Posts: 4,420Registered Users
    the key to making a gravy is first starting with renderings from "seasoned" meat or veggies that have browned in a pan. that's where the gravy's flavor and color will come from.

    some people use cornstarch as the thickening agent; i prefer self-rising flour because that's how my mother taught me.

    if i'm making enough meat for 5 people, i'll probably start a gravy off with 2 heaping tablespoons of flour put in a cup. then i'll add enough water to make it watery. don't worry, as self-rising flour will thicken, so it doesn't have to be as thick as a rue. then pour it into the still turned-on pan of renderings. when the mixture hits the hot pan, the water will bubble up the bits of meat, seasonings, veggies, herbs, and browned color that will instantly start to look like gravy. scrape the bottom of the pan to work up all of these bits, and stir to make sure there are no lumps and that all of the pan's flavor incorporates evenly.
    at this point, if the amount of gravy doesn't look like it's enough, you can add another teaspoon mixed with water and pour it into the pan to increase the amount of gravy. you'll have to make these adjustments by eye and as you go along (my mother has few precise recipes and taught me to cook by eye as well). be prepared to add water to thin out the gravy as it cooks. you don't want it too thick, but you don't want it runny either. let the flour cook for several minutes to capture the flavors and to get rid of that "raw flour" taste. sample it for additional seasonings like pepper, salt, onion/garlic powder, etc. if the pan's renderings were very seasoned, you may find that you won't need to add any additional seasonings.

    i honestly don't know how long i let my gravy cook. i know it's done when i don't taste raw flour and when the flavor is well-seasoned, tasting like the renderings from the pan so that it can compliment the meat or veggies that it comes from.

    that's it.

    oh, and if you are making a gravy from roasted veggies, which may not be robustly flavorful, you could substitute water for chicken or veggie stock/broth to enrich the gravy's flavor.

    good luck.
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  • starinastarina Posts: 665Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    rainshower, let me thank you also for those great instructions! One question, am I supposed to constantly stir the gravy to keep it from getting lumpy? Or do I just let it simmer?
    I have 3A hair. I've discovered Jessicurl shampoo and Too Shea conditioner and I'm thrilled! Long-time LA Looks sport gel user.
  • rainshowerrainshower Posts: 4,420Registered Users
    starina wrote: »
    rainshower, let me thank you also for those great instructions! One question, am I supposed to constantly stir the gravy to keep it from getting lumpy? Or do I just let it simmer?

    you are welcome!

    if you make sure your flour-water mixture is lump-free before pouring it into the pan, you shouldn't have lumps to deal with. the stirring that you have to do is to make sure you are working up those renderings from the pan to be distributed into the gravy and to make sure you are evenly cooking the gravy so that you won't taste raw flour in your finished product.

    hope this helps!
    "Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
  • xcptnlxcptnl Posts: 15,678Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Spider wrote: »
    I only make "real" gravy when I have meat drippings (chicken, turkey, beef). Something like meatloaf is usually just grease, so I personally would just use a jarred gravy or mix (plus I like a tomato sauce on my meatloaf).

    For the other roasted types of meats, once they are done cooking and you have a good supply of drippings, seperate the fat from the good stuff. The good stuff(meat juices, bits of meat) put into a saucepan on medium heat.
    I don't measure out but prefer to use Wondra flour for my gravy- it's a bit grainy/sandy and really cuts down on lumps. I add a bit of the Wondra to the drippings, and if after it starts to boil, keep stirring and add more if too runny, until right thickness. The gravy does thicken as it cooks with the flour, so don't add too much in the beginning.

    I add salt and pepper to taste.

    I am the same way with meatloaf but you could make one using the roux/broth method as well.

    I also make the gravy in the pan I cooked the meat/veggies in. That way I get all the stuff that is on the pan from cooking the other stuff in it. I just pour off the excess fat (I keep some though - that helps flavor the gravy). But I make mine with cornstarch/water mixture which I add to the pan.
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  • starinastarina Posts: 665Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    rainshower wrote: »
    starina wrote: »
    rainshower, let me thank you also for those great instructions! One question, am I supposed to constantly stir the gravy to keep it from getting lumpy? Or do I just let it simmer?

    you are welcome!

    if you make sure your flour-water mixture is lump-free before pouring it into the pan, you shouldn't have lumps to deal with. the stirring that you have to do is to make sure you are working up those renderings from the pan to be distributed into the gravy and to make sure you are evenly cooking the gravy so that you won't taste raw flour in your finished product.

    hope this helps!

    That definitely helps! Thanks!
    I have 3A hair. I've discovered Jessicurl shampoo and Too Shea conditioner and I'm thrilled! Long-time LA Looks sport gel user.
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,633Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    We used to always save our bacon drippings for this very reason. You never knew when you'd need to make gravy. :)

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