Chef Susan Odell: I am Chef Susan Odell of foodell.
com. I am a professional teaching chef and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and I will make a roast chicken or a roast turkey. Gravy is a really important part of my meal; I like to have lots of it and get it nice and hot all over the meat.
Making your gravy ahead of time makes the day up super easy. I am going to show you how to make your gravy in advance, keep it in the refrigerator and just heat it up right before you serve.
To start your gravy first you need some fat. I have got 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter. My pan is on a medium heat and I want to melt my butter before I add my vegetables. I always like to use unsalted, because you want to control the amount of salt that's in your final dish.
Once your butter is melted you want to add your aromatic vegetables, I have got, 1 carrot that I have chipped up, 1 celery stick and 1 medium yellow onion. It doesn't really matter how you chop them. You are going to strain these vegetables out; they are not going to end up in your finished product.
Once you get them in the pan, you want to brown your vegetables carefully, you don't want them to burn or you will end up with a burn taste in your gravy. You want to keep stirring over a medium heat for about 20 minutes. This is going to give your gravy a nice brown color, so you want to make sure your vegetables get nice and brown before you take them off of the heat.
My vegetables are nice and brown even the carrots are turning golden. Now I am going to add my flour. This is 5 tablespoons of all purpose flour. What this is going to do, it's going to help our gravy thicken, so you want to always cook out flour. Flour will leave a very floury taste, no surprise, if you don't cook it.
We are going to stir it and brown the flour for about three minutes. All of the vegetables will absorb the flour and then once the flour is brown, you want to start adding liquid to your gravy. First of all I've got a cup of white wine. I like to use as serving on block, something crisp, this is going to provide a little bit of acidity for our gravy.
Once the wine has been absorbed we are now going to add our chicken stock. This is low sodium chicken stock and I have got 4 cups. It's really important to use a low salt variety, otherwise when it cooks, it's just going to get saltier and saltier.
Once your liquids are absorbed I am going to add some herbs. I have got 1 bay leaf and I have got a 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme. I want to bring my gravy to a nice simmer, which is just below boiling and then we are going to cover the dish and cook it for about 15 minutes. I want to cover it with the lid, partially the skew.
My gravy has been simmering for 15 minutes and look at that beautiful dark brown color we have got. It's nice and thick so we are just going to strain it now and finish off the seasonings.
To make a nice smooth gravy, you really want to use a fine mesh sieve to strain it through. We are going to get rid of all of those vegetables that we spent so long browning, and just make sure you get all of your ingredients incorporated.
The best way to get all of the juice out of your vegetables once it's in your fine mesh strainer, to use the back of a ladle or even a wooden spoon and just press down on those vegetables and really give them a good squeeze. We want to get all that good juice out.
Our gravy is just about ready. I like to add a tablespoon of Madeira (fortified wine). It gets a little bit of sweetness and we need to taste your gravy and probably going to need to add some salt and pepper. Start with about a 1/4 teaspoon of each. At this point you can put your gravy in the refrigerator and keep it cold for up to two days or freeze it for up to three months, and then your dinner will be ready in a flash, and you will have beautiful homemade gravy to serve. Bon Apptit!