- 2 cups of beef, chicken, or turkey broth (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 tablespoons of fat (drippings from a roast, butter, or vegetable oil)
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
You can customize your gravy by adding any of the following for extra flavor:
- 1/4 cup of chopped onions, celery, or mushrooms
- 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
- Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage
- 1/4 cup of white wine, red wine, or broth for deglazing
1. **Prepare the Fat:** If you're using drippings from a roast, strain them into a heatproof bowl and let the fat separate from the juices. If not, melt the butter or vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. **Optional Vegetables:** If you want to add onions, celery, or mushrooms for extra flavor, sauté them in the fat until they become soft and translucent.
3. **Add Flour:** Sprinkle the flour evenly over the fat and vegetables, if using. Stir continuously to create a smooth paste, also known as a roux. Continue to cook the roux for 2-3 minutes to remove any raw flour taste.
4. **Deglaze (Optional):** If you're not using drippings and want to enhance the flavor, add wine or broth to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Let it simmer for a minute or two to reduce slightly.
5. **Gradually Add Broth:** Slowly pour in the broth while stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. A whisk can be helpful for this. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens and comes to a gentle boil. This may take 5-10 minutes.
6. **Season:** Season your gravy with salt and pepper to taste. If you're using fresh herbs, add them at this stage.
7. **Simmer:** Reduce the heat to low and let the gravy simmer for 5-10 more minutes, or until it reaches your desired thickness. Remember that it will thicken a bit more as it cools.
8. **Taste and Adjust:** Taste your gravy and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can also add a little more broth if it's too thick or simmer it longer if it's too thin.
9. **Serve:** Once your homemade gravy is ready, serve it hot over roast meats, mashed potatoes, biscuits, or your favorite dishes.
Enjoy your delicious homemade gravy! Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and seasonings to create the perfect gravy for your meals.
Gravy is a versatile sauce that has a long history and has evolved over time in various culinary traditions. Here's an overview of the history of gravy:
1. **Ancient Origins:** The concept of using liquids to create sauces dates back to ancient civilizations. In ancient Greece and Rome, cooks would often use wine, vinegar, and various liquids to create sauces for their dishes. These early sauces served to enhance the flavor and moisture of the food.
2. **Medieval Europe:** Gravy, as we know it today, has its roots in medieval Europe. In medieval English and French cuisine, cooks would create sauces known as "sops" or "sauces" by combining meat drippings with water, wine, or broth. These sauces were often used to moisten bread, which was a common staple in medieval meals. Over time, these sops evolved into the thicker and more flavorful gravies we are familiar with today.
3. **Colonial America:** In colonial America, settlers adapted European culinary traditions to the ingredients available to them in the New World. They used native ingredients like cornmeal and flour to thicken gravies. Gravy became an essential part of traditional American dishes like biscuits and gravy, roast meats, and fried chicken.
4. **19th and 20th Centuries:** The 19th century saw the development of convenience products like canned and powdered gravy mixes, making it easier for home cooks to prepare gravy quickly. These products remain popular today, although many people still prefer homemade gravy for its flavor and versatility.
5. **Regional Variations:** Gravy has evolved differently in various regions of the world. In the Southern United States, for example, sausage gravy served over biscuits is a beloved breakfast dish. In France, rich sauces like demi-glace are used in haute cuisine. In Asian cuisines, gravies and sauces take on unique flavors and ingredients, such as soy sauce and ginger.
6. **Culinary Evolution:** Gravy has continued to evolve in response to changing culinary trends and dietary preferences. Today, there are numerous variations of gravy, including vegetarian and vegan options made with vegetable stock or plant-based fats.
7. **Global Influence:** Gravy, or its equivalent, exists in many cuisines around the world. It can vary greatly in terms of ingredients, thickness, and flavors. In some cultures, it is an essential component of traditional dishes, while in others, it is used more sparingly.
In summary, gravy has a rich history that spans centuries and multiple cultures. It has evolved from simple meat drippings and liquids to become an integral part of various culinary traditions. Whether thick and savory or light and flavorful, gravy continues to be a beloved addition to many dishes worldwide.
Gravy, typically made from meat drippings and thickened with flour or cornstarch, adds flavor to dishes but has limited nutritional value. It offers some protein and traces of vitamins and minerals from meat juices. However, it can be high in sodium and saturated fat due to the meat's fat content. Homemade gravies may allow for healthier customization. While gravy enhances taste, it's best enjoyed in moderation, especially if you're watching your sodium or fat intake, as excessive consumption may contribute to health concerns like hypertension or weight gain.
1. What is the primary purpose of gravy in cooking?
a) To add color to dishes
b) To add sweetness to dishes
c) To enhance flavor and moisture in dishes
d) To make dishes more crunchy
2. In which ancient civilizations did the concept of using liquids to create sauces, a precursor to gravy, originate?
a) Ancient Egypt and China
b) Ancient Greece and Rome
c) Ancient India and Mesopotamia
d) Ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures
3. In which region of the United States is "biscuits and gravy" a popular breakfast dish?
a) New England
d) Pacific Northwest
4. What is the main ingredient used to thicken gravy?
5. Which of the following ingredients is NOT commonly used to make a roux for gravy?
b) Olive oil
c) Bacon fat
6. What is the traditional sauce used in French cuisine that is similar to gravy?
a) Hollandaise sauce
b) Béchamel sauce
d) Pesto sauce
7. What is the term for a gravy made from the drippings of roasted meat?
8. What type of gravy is often served with Thanksgiving turkey in the United States?
a) Chocolate gravy
b) Tomato gravy
c) Cranberry gravy
d) Giblet gravy
9. Which cuisine commonly features a thick, flavorful sauce known as "curry gravy"?
10. In vegetarian cooking, what is a common substitute for meat-based gravy?
a) Coconut milk
b) Vegetable stock
c) Soy sauce
1. c) To enhance flavor and moisture in dishes
2. b) Ancient Greece and Rome
3. b) Midwest
4. b) Flour
5. d) Vinegar
6. c) Demi-glace
7. b) Jus
8. d) Giblet gravy
9. b) Indian
10. b) Vegetable stock