Food & Drink

Thanksgiving meal not complete without gravy

Perhaps no holiday is more food-related than Thanksgiving. Each family seems to have its own traditions — and generally they include a turkey that may be roasted, smoked or even fried.

You have those who would consider the feast not complete without cornbread dressing, Others must have bread stuffing with fruit or other savory additions.

But nearly everyone considers the gravy a part of the feast. The question I receive most often has to do with the gravy. It seems to be a mystery. I have received several questions about gravy-making, and here is one that summarizes most of them:

I have no trouble roasting the turkey but don’t know how to make the drippings into gravy. It seems like such a challenge that I end up purchasing the kind in the jar from the supermarket. I know it is not the best. Can you tell me how to make gravy?

With the wonderful pan drippings the turkey generates, I cannot imagine substituting store-bought gravy for the real thing. Here is a very easy method.

Remove the turkey from the roasting pan to a platter. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest. Pour the pan juices into a large glass measure or bowl.

Meanwhile, add one cup water to the roasting pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula, scraping up the crisp bits that are stuck to the pan. Add that to the pan drippings. After five minutes, the fat will rise to the top. Skim that off. Strain and measure the drippings. For three cups gravy, you will need three cups pan drippings. Don’t worry if you don’t have that much; just add a good-quality low-sodium canned chicken broth until you have three cups. Pour into a two-quart saucepan.

To make the slurry (thickening agent), place one cup cold water in a two-cup glass measuring cup and whisk in a half cup flour until the lumps are gone. If lumps persist, just strain it.

Place saucepan with broth over medium heat and whisk in the slurry. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Simmer for a minute or two. If it’s too thick, thin down with more chicken broth. For thicker gravy, let it simmer and reduce a bit or stir in a bit more slurry. Just remember: The gravy needs to come to a boil before the flour can thicken the gravy.

Season with salt and pepper. If you have whisked properly, you will have no lumps. But if you need more practice at the whisking technique, don’t fret — just strain the lumps out and serve it with the turkey. It will be delicious.

Bonnie Aeschliman is a certified culinary professional who owns Cooking at Bonnie’s Place in Wichita. For more information, call 316-425-5224 or go to cookingatbonnies.com. To submit a question to Bonnie, e-mail her at bonnie@cookingatbonnies.com.

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