October 9, 2014

Dripping Gravy

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If you want to go the traditional route and whip up scratch gravy while your roast beef or bird sits, here’s your recipe. The flavourful pan juices, known as drippings, and the browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan, are building blocks of intense gravy. This recipe is somewhat freeform, since the amount of drippings from a roast will vary. (A confession: To eliminate last-minute stress and guesswork, and ensure there’s enough gravy, I actually prefer to make Land of Plenty Gravy, a pan gravy supplemented with Hasty Gravy prepared in advance.) Need an all-purpose gravy guide? Hop on My Gravy Train.

       Pouring on the gravy. Credit: Susan Sampson


Drippings from roast beef or bird
About 3 cups (750 mL) low-sodium chicken or beef stock
1/2 to 1 cup (125 to 250 mL) dry wine (red/white) or unsweetened hard cider, to taste
1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce/worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) or more kosher salt
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground white pepper
Browning to taste

Scrape drippings from roasting pan into gravy separator. Let sit 5 minutes, or until fat separates from juices. Pour juices into large measuring cup. Add enough stock to equal 4 cups (1 L).

Add wine or cider to roasting pan. Scrape up browned bits on bottom of pan. Whisk on medium heat 1 minute, or until almost evaporated. Add stock mixture, reserving measuring cup. Boil 1 to 2 minutes, scraping pan with whisk. Place fine-mesh sieve over reserved measuring cup. Pour mixture through sieve. Discard solids.

Add 1/4 cup (60 mL) fat from drippings to roasting pan. (Discard remaining fat or save for other impromptu gravies.) Heat on medium. Whisk in flour 1 to 2 minutes, until turning golden. Remove from heat. While whisking constantly, gradually add stock mixture until smooth. Whisk in soy sauce or worcestershire, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and pepper. Heat on medium. When liquid comes to full boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened and bubbly.

Remove from heat. Adjust salt. Stir in browning.

Makes 3-1/2 cups (825 mL).

Tool Time: Using a gravy separator (a small jug with a spout at the bottom) is the easiest way to separate drippings. The fat floats on top of the juices.

Bright Ideas: Instead of wine or cider, use marsala or sherry cut half and half with stock.

Kitchen Secrets: To prevent lumps, its important to add stock gradually and to stir until smoothly combined before adding more.

Oh No: Never cover the pan to keep your gravy warm. It will thin out if steam attacks it.

B is for Browning: Sugar so darkly caramelized that it has lost its sweetness is sold as browning. It is used as a food colouring in everything from gravy to cake. Supermarkets sell browning.

Make-Ahead: This gravy is usually made when the roast comes out of the oven. However, it can be reheated.


Dripping Gravy (Gluten-Free)
Omit flour. Make sure stock is cold. In medium measuring cup, stir together 1/2 cup (125 mL) stock mixture and 6 tbsp (90 mL) cornstarch until smooth. After adding fat to pan, give cornstarch mixture a big stir and whisk it in carefully (it will sputter). While whisking, pour in remaining stock mixture. Whisk in soy sauce or worcestershire, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and pepper. When mixture comes to full boil, cook, stirring often with whisk, 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Adjust salt. Stir in browning.