You can make the basic version of this gravy (butter, flour, stock) way ahead of time and heat it up just before serving, or trick it out with last-minute extras like pan drippings. Either way, this gravy is guaranteed to be lump-free and delicious.
| ||~ || A few Tbsp. pan drippings from a roasted bird, loin, or other cut of meat (optional) |
| ||4 || Tbsp. butter, softened |
| ||4 || Tbsp. flour |
| ||2 || Tbsp. wine, sherry, port, brandy, etc. (optional) |
| ||2 to 4 || cups stock (vegetable, chicken, turkey, or beef), warmed in a saucepan |
| ||⅓ || cup cream (optional) |
| ||~ || Salt and pepper, to taste |
- If using the pan drippings, drain off the clear juices from a freshly roasted bird or cut of meat into a skillet.
- In a small bowl, cut together the butter and the flour. With your fingers, mash the mixture together into a smooth paste. This is called beurre manié, and it makes for a lump-free gravy.
- Over medium heat, heat the drippings and gradually whisk in the beurre manié until smooth. (If you’re not using drippings, heat the butter-flour mixture, stirring, until it starts to melt, then whisk in a bit of stock.) Cook, stirring, for a few minutes to get the raw taste out of the flour.
- Add the alcohol, if using, and then gradually add the remaining stock, whisking all the while. (Stop at 2 cups stock and add more later as needed.) Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring constantly, until the gravy has an even consistency and the desired thickness.
- Whisk in the cream, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a minute or two more, then either serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate until needed.
If you like, start out with a few tablespoons of minced onion or shallot in the pan. For mushroom sauce, sauté sliced mushrooms with the onion or shallot, then proceed with the gravy recipe; use mushroom stock if available. You can also add fresh minced herbs or a bit of dried herbs, such as parsley or thyme.
Read more about Thanksgiving menu planning in “Classic Thanksgiving.”