Makes about 2 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes (includes 20 minutes simmering time)
You don’t need pan drippings to make great gravy. This version relies on vegetables and chicken and beef broths for a rich, full-bodied gravy that can be served with almost any type of meat or poultry or simply over mashed potatoes. If you would like to double the recipe, use a Dutch oven to give the vegetables ample room for browning and increase the cooking times by roughly 50%. To prevent lumps from forming, be sure to whisk constantly when adding the broths.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
1 rib celery, chopped fine
1 onion, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
5 whole black peppercorns
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened and well browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly browned, about 5 minutes.
Gradually whisk in the broths and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.
Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
Test Kitchen tip: The color and flavor of this gravy come from cooking the vegetables and flour until they are well-browned. It may seem as though they are turning too dark, but trust us, it is a step necessary to producing richly flavored and colored gravy.
To make ahead: The gravy can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat over low heat, stirring to recombine, or microwave, stirring often, until warm and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. To thaw, place the gravy and 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer slowly. The gravy may appear broken or curdled as it thaws, but a vigorous whisking will recombine it.
Source: USA Today, Nov 2006