Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Making Gravy

While making this post, I am roasting chicken, with my potato peasant bread rising. We are gonna make a mini-birthday celebration of my husband's birthday (will celebrate with in-laws on weekend). Boxed brownie for dessert in place of cake (pagod na ko eh!)

Over the years with probably at least 12 times preparing roast chicken or (with occasional turkey if I am tasked to host a major holiday event) every year, my method of making gravy has evolved.

I have tried using roux method where you melt butter then add flour (this will replace the flour-water mixture) then the drippings/juice follow, the taste adjusted with salt and pepper (and/or soy sauce and worcestershire sauce) to come up with the final gravy. My problem with this is that, the amount of juice I make varies, and sometimes the roux I made is not enough to thicken the whole amount, so I end up boiling (and stirring) some more to reduce the sauce to achieve the desired consistency. Well, not really finding any special effect (like others claim it results to smoother and tastier gravy), I ditched that method.

What I describe below is how I prefer nowadays to make my gravy.


drippings from roasted chicken or turkey

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup water (or adjust to make a thick batter yet easy enough to pour)

1/4 cup sherry or cooking wine

salt and pepper to taste


A prelude:

Of course it starts with preparing a good base to start with. Your drippings should contain at least 4 cups of juice to have enough gravy to last the whole chicken (or to use for leftover, if making sandwiches or empanada, etc.). You also should have a good mix of spices (I prefer basic onion, garlic, peppercorns, celery, bay leaves, lemongrass) in the water you put in, with a good spice paste (like the garlic rosemary paste I put under the skin), or just plain (kosher) salt and freshly milled pepper (this combination is my husband's preference) sprinkle on the skin. I also like brining my chicken or turkey with 4 cups of water + 1/4 cup kosher salt while thawing in the fridge the day prior to roasting (this preferably should be rinsed of the next day, and the chicken left open in the fridge to dry out the skin some before roasting, which results to crispier skin). And if you have Americans in your household, the usual potato/carrots combination is a must as well.

So after 2.5 hours of roasting, I transfer the chicken onto a shallower aluminum pan (like my jelly roll pan) to continue for 30 minutes more, with foil over it to avoid overbrowning the skin. I then proceed to making the gravy.

Using a good fat separator like my Amco, I remove fat/oil as well as

big chunks of spices and veggies from the drippings.

I then boil using a small saucepan. I adjust the taste at this point before thickening with flour/water combination.

When I am satisfied with the consistency (I make it a bit thicker because of the next step), I stop and wait awhile. Meanwhile, I transfer potatoes and carrots in a bowl. I prepare the pan for putting back the chicken there.

When chicken is done, I transfer it back to the original pan. Now the jelly roll pan also has some drippings, and partly browned at some points. I now place this pan on stovetop, pour the sherry or cooking wine there, turn on the stove to med heat, scrape the bottom of the pan that it gets dissolved with the sherry/wine, resulting to brown sauce with intense flavor. I now pour this into the saucepan containing the gravy and mix well. Now my gravy has golden brown color with intense flavor and depth to it, so unlike the light brown sauce resulting from mixes.

Love it!

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