All-purpose gravy

All-purpose gravy

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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