How to Make Gravy with a Roux

Gravy is great, and it doesn’t have to be bad for you. Here is a quick and easy way to make relatively healthy gravy.

Start with your meat drippings, this can be from any type of meat, and make sure you run it through a fat seperator to get rid of the fat and keep the protein. If you don’t have enough drippings, add water, it’s okay, the dripping are concentrated anyways. You could also add a broth or stock product if you have one.

Decide how much finished gravy you want, and compare that to how much drippings you have. If you need to add more liquid (as mentioned above) do so.

For each cup of gravy you want to have add 1-2 TBSP of butter (more for thicker gravy, less for thinner gravy), per cup of gravy, to a saucepan and let it melt. Once it is melted add an equivalent amount of stone ground whole wheat flour (stone ground whole wheat flour is just about as healthy a wheat flour as you’ll get, so I recommend you use it). Stir while adding the flour and keep stirring (use a whisk). Until the mixture is a nice light golden brown. You could continue cooking it on low heat and eventually it’d darker, turn reddish, and the flavor would change. We’re not using it for flavor though so much as for thickening. So stop at light golden brown.

What you’ve just done is made a roux, a combination of equal parts fat & starch that is used for thickening. Starches like flour are great for thickening because when exposed to heat they burst and all their insides come out and thicken what they are in. However when adding them directly to water they clump and then must be stirred like crazy. If you add them to a fat instead they do not clump and by stirring you surround each starch molecule with fat, which will prevent them from clumping when they reach the liquid. So the cooked flour & butter combination is called a roux, and it is great for thickening anything that needs it.

Once your roux looks nice, add the meat drippings & water or broth or whatever you are using as filler liquid and bring it all to a boil while stirring. You’ll notice it thicken really quickly. Now you can add any seasonings you like, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, whatever you like. I usually toss in a dash of balsamic vinegar no matter what kind of gravy it is. Worcestershire is a good idea for dark gravies as well.

When making a roux, remember dark ones have more flavor but less thickening power. If you cook it so long you see black specs you’ve burnt it, start over. When making a large batch try roasting it in the over ofer 300 degree heat until it reaches the color you like (less likely to burn it in the oven, trust me, although you aren’t likely to burn it when just making gravy, usually thats a soup thing where you want it to get dark).

In the end your gravy will be mostly protein (from the meat drippings) a little starch from the flour, and yes fat from the butter. You could use another form of fat such as olive oil or whatever you like, but butter makes the best gravy I think, and only a tablespoon or two in an entire pot isn’t a whole lot.

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