Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gravy

Does anyone ever make gravy from scratch?

Usually I do it with Gravox, and some of the pan juices, but the other day we cooked a chook, and I tried doing it from scratch. It tasted pretty good, though I'd like to improve it a bit. The colour was quite light (sorta like KFC gravy), and I felt the flavour needed a little something, but I couldn't work out what.

I just scraped lots of that nice brown oily goop from the bottom of the pan I cooked the chicken in, melted that in another pan, added some flour, then gradually added water. I then put in a swig of balsamic vinegar, but I don't know that was a great idea.

Any tips?

6 comments:

geoffc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
geoffc said...

this is incredible, as I've just started to do the same.

I tried it first the same as you, and thought it needed more flavour. So next time instead of adding water with the flour added chicken or beef stock. Made all the differences.

That's what the recipe books say as well.

Stuart said...

Yeah, this is totally the way to go.

I normally remove the fat (which, for once, actually improves the flavour), either by scooping it out or putting it in the fridge for a while and letting it solidify.

Hopefully you already seasoned your chicken with salt and pepper and garlic, so they'll be in the juices. An onion stuffed in the chest cavity can also be good.

Strangely enough, a small (small!) squirt of tomato sauce or Worcester sauce can lift it quite a lot.

I'd recommend keeping the added water to a minimum. With this in mind, you may prefer to use cornflour as your thickener.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Thanks guys. Geoff, that is a good idea--stock! That's why I added a little balsamic, because it just lacked that little zing.

And yeah, I think Stuart, maybe a bit more seasoning and the onion thing would help too. Why does the fat need to solidify? Can't you just do it while it's still hot and runny? And what does cornflur do that normal flour doesn't?

Stuart said...

Yeah, you can scoop it out while it's runny; it's just easier when it's solidified. But if you want it now, go the scoop :)

Cornflour (or arrowroot, for that matter) will do the same thing as wheat flour, but you need less of it, and less water to mix it in (so it affects the flavour less). You're also less likely to get lumps. It also thickens faster, so you can get the taste of the gravy right first, then add the thickening agent.

For me, I'd shy away from stock cubes and the like — you're headed back in the Gravox direction, then. That's fine as far as it goes, but if you're wanting the flavour of the 'real stock' from the actual animal, I find it can be overpowered by the Oxo cube.

Oh, man, I have to go roast myself a chicken...

Ben McLaughlin said...

thanks for that info, Stuart. Sounds like you do a lot of cooking? I kinda agree about the stockcube thing. It seems like going back in the cheating direction..