Good Gravy

I am always dumbfounded when someone tells me they don’t know how to make gravy — or just don’t, because they are daunted by the process. I know there are people out there who BUY their gravy in cans or jars for the Thanksgiving feast, which is a real shame because they’re letting all those luscious drippings go to waste.

Since I am a BIG fan of gravy — my last meal choice would probably be a heap of potatoes covered generously with gravy and maybe some onion rings on the side — I learned to make gravy at a pretty early age.

It really is pretty basic. In fact, what could get more basic than flour mixed with water? Is it the possibility of lumps that keep people from making gravy? So once in a while you get a lump. Who cares? At least then you can tell it’s homemade.

I, of course, learned to make gravy from DotMom, and she, I assume, learned it from her mom, Grandma Margaret. Grandma M. died from cancer when I was just 2 years old, so I don’t recall any holiday dinners with her. But I did spend many holidays with Grandma Alice, and although Mom knew very well how to make gravy, she often called upon Grandma A. to do that chore for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can still picture Grandma A. standing in our Galena Street kitchen, shaking the plastic container filled with flour and water while the turkey drippings simmered on the stove. It’s a good memory. A cozy memory.

So, if you’re one of those people daunted by making gravy, give it a try. Maybe you’ll become the family gravy maker and conjure up some cozy memories many years down the road. If you need some pointers, here’s the basic method as presented on the Web site:

Making Gravy

For each 2 cups gravy desired — use 3 tablespoons fat, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and 2 cups of liquid (poultry juices or broth, vegetable juice, bouillon, and/or water).

Any type of liquid can be added to make gravy, but always use the drippings from the roasting pan and turkey broth to make your turkey gravy. Add other liquids as needed for flavor and quantity of gravy.

In a separate container with a lid, shake together all-purpose flour needed and about 2 cups cool water. This is called a slurry. Adding the thickener (flour) in this way helps to prevent lumps from forming when making your gravy.

Once the liquid and drippings in the pan are lightly bubbling, slowly add the slurry mixture to the gravy pan, stirring constantly. If it starts to thicken immediately, stop adding the remaining slurry, you may not need to use the whole amount depending on how much or little drippings were in the pan. If lumps do develop, you should be able to use a wire whisk to remove them.

Simmer gently about 10 minutes to cook the flour all the way through (undercooked flour gives off a raw taste). Correct the salt and pepper to taste.