The Best Homemade Gravy
There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of pouring a rich, velvety homemade gravy over your favorite roast or mashed potatoes. Achieving the best homemade gravy involves a careful dance of flavours and textures, and we’re here to guide you through the process.
Let’s explore the crucial elements that contribute to the excellence of homemade gravy, from building a ladder of flavour to achieving that coveted smooth consistency.
Building the Homemade Gravy Flavour Ladder: Fresh Ingredients for the Ultimate Stock
The foundation of any great homemade gravy is an exceptional stock. Forget the store-bought options; we’re talking about a rich, flavourful base that takes your gravy to new heights. Begin by selecting fresh, high-quality ingredients — chicken or turkey bones, aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery, and a bouquet of fresh herbs. Our Perfect, Juicy, Spatchcock Turkey is a great companion to this gravy recipe. The spatchcocking, and trimming of the turkey will yield all the bones needed to make this recipe.
To elevate the flavour, start with roasting the bones and vegetables in the oven or air fryer. This step adds a depth and complexity that store-bought alternatives can’t match. Roasting caramelises the natural sugars in the vegetables and bones, imparting a richness that forms the first rung of our flavour ladder. This is called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is a complex chemical process that enhances the flavours in your stock and occurs when the amino acids and sugars present in the bones and vegetables undergo browning, resulting in a deeper, more robust taste and golden colour. This transformative process contributes to the overall richness and complexity of the final gravy.
Our recipe offers different cooking methods for your stock: on the stove for a traditional approach, in a slow cooker for convenience, or using an instant pot for speed without compromising taste. The key is allowing the ingredients to meld together over time, extracting every bit of savoury goodness.
Unlocking the Jelly-Like Consistency: The Magic of Roasted Bones
The Roux: Unveiling the Magic Behind Butter and Flour
Once you have your aromatic, flavourful stock ready, it’s time to dive into the next step: the roux. The combination of equal parts butter and flour serves as the backbone of a well-textured gravy. But why cook them together before introducing the liquid?
Cooking the roux serves two crucial purposes. First, it eliminates the raw taste of the flour, preventing your gravy from having a starchy, unpleasant flavour. Second, it acts as a thickening agent, providing the ideal consistency to your gravy. The roux is your secret weapon, transforming a liquid stock into a luscious, velvety sauce.
The Secret to Smooth Homemade Gravy: Patience and Technique
Smooth gravy is the hallmark of a well-crafted recipe, and achieving it requires a combination of patience and technique. To avoid lumps in your gravy, gradually whisk in the liquid — your stock bursting with meaty flavours — into the roux. Whisking continuously and gradually incorporating the liquid ensures a smooth, lump-free texture.
Strain the gravy at the end to catch any remaining bits of herbs or vegetables, contributing to that silky finish. The extra step is well worth the effort for a consistently smooth and refined homemade gravy.
Enjoyed this Homemade Gravy?
If you tried this The Best Homemade Gravy recipe, please let me know about it! Leave me a comment and give this recipe a rating below, and remember to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with.
If you’re looking for ideas of what to serve with the gravy, try:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this gluten-free?
Yes, by using gluten-free flour for the gravy roux.
Can I make this vegan?
Unfortunately, the roasted bones is what makes this recipe *chef’s kiss*.
Can I use store-bought stock?
You can, but it’s not the same. First, much of the flavour of store-bought stock comes from yeast extract and flavour enhancements. Second, the consistency is more watery, less jelly-like.
Can you make the stock in advance?
Absolutely! You can pour the stock into ice trays and freeze them for when you’re ready to use. If space in your freezer is limited, pop the frozen stock cubes out of the trays and store in freezer bags with the date. Ideally, use within 3 months but they will keep well for up to 6.
Turning waste into liquid gold: stock hacks
Making stock is a great way to use up ingredients that would otherwise go to waste in your kitchen. Save your bones from your roast dinners and pop them into the freezer until you are ready to make stock. Vegetable offcuts, like carrot tops, celery leaves, cleaned leek-off cuts, scarps of onion, and any herbs going soft in the fridge can also be frozen raw and used in stock. Many butchers will also offer high-quality, pasture-reared chicken bones at hefty discounts.
I like to save up 3-4 chickens worth of bones, and then spend some time making stock. The more bones used, the more collagen-rich the broth will be and the less time I will need to spend reducing the liquid to concentrate it. I will either use the stock within three to four days or reduce it down to a few cupfuls, pour it into ice trays and freeze it. Not only does this save space, but I have perfect, collagen-rich preservative-free stock cubes on hand whenever a recipe calls for them.
Whenever I feel under the weather, these stock cubes are also a godsend. I’ll add them to a mug with loads of grated ginger and sip on my instant bone broth or I will make my no-fuss Immuneboosting Noodle Soup Jars and pop one of these stock cubes into the jar along with the rest of the ingredients and boiling water. They never fail to make me feel better