In the matter of gravy...T
he only way to get a good gravy is to make it yourself. It’s just the hard fact of the matter. But when you have a turkey to carve, and potatoes to mash, and vegetables to plate, taking 5 minutes to make fresh gravy and actually get it to the table hot, is a legitimate challenge. This is why so many people turn to jarred and dehydrated forms of gravy. Not wanting to succumb to premade gravy, I set out to perfect a gravy that I could make ahead of time.
This may not be for everyone, but it works for me. It does take advance planning and some effort, but the results are worth it. Make ahead gravy guarantees delicious results while reducing stress at dinner time, and what can be better than that?
Up to 3 months in advance, roast whole chicken, chicken parts, or a turkey. The goal here is to collect as many droppings as possible so I usually roast chicken thighs with a whole chicken which produces a good amount of delicious drippings. (Plan a meal around your roasting, but reserve the drippings because that is what we are after. I usually make chicken salad, sandwiches or soup with the meat.)
Pass the drippings through a sieve or cheesecloth to produce a clean liquid, free from bits and pieces that have no business in our gravy.
If you have a gravy separator, use it now to remove the fat and set then portion out your drippings. If you do not have a separator, refrigerate the drippings in glass. After the drippings set, the fat will rise to the top and harden. I leave it overnight. Skim and discard the fat layer. The drippings will have hardened and become gelatinous. Separate the drippings in 1/4 cup portions, or any portion you choose.
Place about a 1/4 cup of drippings into a small sauce pan on low and let it melt back into a liquid. Add 2 cups of good quality chicken stock add bring bring to a simmer over medium heat. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water and then stir in to the broth. Stir constantly over medium heat for about 2 minutes, maintaining a small simmer and not a boil. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: These portions may need to be altered based on the brand of ingredients you are using and the consistency you want to achieve.
Place the gravy into a storage container and place in the fridge OR freezer. (If freezing the gravy, defrost in advance of using.)
When ready to serve, place the gravy in a small sauce pan. The gravy will hold the shape of the storage container. Don’t panic! This is right. Reheat the gravy slowly, over a low heat. Once it starts to break down and loosen up, I like to use an immersion blender to get it back to its original, silky consistency. At this point you are ready to serve fresh made, delicious gravy.
On a holiday or more complicated meal, I will reheat the gravy 30 min to an hour in advance of needing it and then I transfer it to a mini crock pot which clears off the stove top and keeps it nice and hot for hours.