Farm Kitchen Gravy

OK, I know it’s far from the latest health craze, but this time of year, I also know I’m not the only one thinking about gravy. Gravy consumption can turn into fretting about your waistline or counting cholesterol (obviously), but if it’s savored in moderation, it doesn’t have to be that way. Gravy is the stuff of old-time hearty sustenance, conjuring up notions of cozy country kitchens where families gathered to satisfy bellies and souls. The thing that puzzles me in this era of modern quick fixes is the profusion of powdered gravy mixes on the market, as if somebody is trying to convince us that there’s a trick involved in making gravy. Hogwash! Gravy is a snap to make. It’s one of the quickest components of a meal even when it’s simmered from scratch. What’s more, homemade gravy is incredibly rich and delicious, lacking that strange chemical bite you’ll find in package mixes. So, with holidays on the way, now is the time to go for it. Here are five farm kitchen recipes that will
warm up all sorts of “down home” family meals. Enjoy them as they are, or get groovy with a splash of wine, or add extra pinches of cayenne, chipotle, garlic and other sizzling spices to kick up the heat.

Basic Pan Gravy
This is a simple and succulent gravy for traditional poultry feasts.

2 cups pan drippings from turkey or chicken (supplemented with extra chicken stock as needed)
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup milk (water or stock can be substituted)
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour 2 cups of pan drippings into a measuring cup. Skim 1/4 cup from the top (fat included) and pour into a saucepan. Whisk in flour, mashing lumps as you mix. Add milk to the measuring cup. Slowly pour the 2 cups of liquid into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your gravy thickens. To thin, add a few tablespoons of milk or water. To thicken, add a pinch of flour. Cook and stir for about 1 minute. Season to taste.

Giblet Variation
Don’t waste the “extra” parts that come with your bird! You’ll love the deep, rich flavor they give your gravy.

Giblets from turkey or chicken (liver, heart, gizzard and neck), cooked with the bird
2 cups drippings (supplemented with extra chicken stock as needed)
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup milk (water or stock can be substituted)
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the giblets and the meat from the neck. Add giblets to drippings in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. In a bowl, combine flour and milk, mixing well to break up lumps. Add milk/flour mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat. When gravy reaches desired thickness, season to taste.

Sausage (or Bacon) Gravy
A perfect topping for biscuits!

Sausage or bacon drippings
1/4 cup white flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage or bacon in a cast iron-skillet. Remove meat from the pan and add 4 tablespoons of flour to the fat remaining in the pan. Cook and stir until the flour mixture browns. Add 2 cups milk (or 1 cup milk + 1 cup water) and mix vigorously. Add crumbled sausage or chopped bacon if desired. Cook over medium heat and stir till nice and thick. Season to taste.

Roast Beef Gravy
A basic, yet beautiful, brown gravy that turns a regular roast into farm-girl gourmet.

2 cups roast beef drippings (supplemented with extra beef stock as needed)
1/4 cup white flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour 2 cups of pan drippings/stock into a measuring cup. Skim 1/4 cup from the top (fat included) and pour into a saucepan. Whisk in flour, mashing lumps as you mix. Slowly pour the remaining drippings/stock into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your gravy thickens. To thin, add a few tablespoons of water. To thicken, add a pinch of flour. Cook and stir for about 1 minute. Season to taste.

Veggie Gravy
No meat? No worries. This savory gravy can groovy up roasted veggies, mashed potatoes and more.

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup white flour
4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic until soft and browning, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, nutritional yeast, soy sauce and sage, forming a smooth paste. Slowly whisk in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened. Season to taste.

Copyright 2010, MaryJane Butters.
Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

3 thoughts on “Farm Kitchen Gravy

  1. Growing up down South, we used to call the sausage gravy “sawmill gravy”, because it was considered the type of hearty fare necessary for hard manual labor.

  2. A couple of tricks: (1) Cook the flour in the fat for several minutes, stirring until it turns light brown. This will keep the raw flour taste out. (2) Add liquid all at once and use a whisk to stir until it bubbles, then cook slowly stirring to keep from sticking and to get all the meat crinkles off the bottom of the pan. (3) Simmer several minutes to blend all the flavors. (4) Half butter & half olive oil may be used if there is no meat fat.