1 TBSP onions, minced (optional)
4 TBSP butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
Fresh sage, finely chopped (or dried sage)
This gravy takes place after cooking, in the same skillet in which you cooked whatever you are making gravy for. After roasting chicken, there are golden bits of meat and juices left behind in the pan that are rich in flavor. By using these browned bits along with chicken broth, you create a flavorful gravy to serve with your meal.
Remove roasted chicken from pan and place in a low heated oven to keep warm. If there is fat left in the pan, pour off all but 4 TBSP of fat. Turn the heat under the skillet to medium high and add the onions and sage. If there wasn’t any fat left in the pan, then add 4 TBSP of butter. Cook, stirring and scraping, until the onions are soft and the bottom of the pan is clean (2-4 minutes).
Add ¼ cup of flour and mix well with the butter forming a paste. Continue stirring and allow the flour and butter mixture (the roux) to cook until it is brown (2-4 minutes). It’s very important to cook the roux for 2-4 minutes to cook out all of the flour taste. If you skip this step your gravy will taste like flour. By cooking the flour, it develops a soft nutty flavor that adds depth to your gravy.
Slowly add your chicken broth until you reach your preferred thickness. Season with salt and pepper.
If your gravy turns out lumpy: If you add the broth too quickly, your gravy may become a little lumpy. If this happens, simply poor the gravy into a blender or food processor and blend for a few seconds. You can also use a hand held mixer or an immersion blender.
*Add ½ cup of minced vegetables (shallots, mushrooms, celery, carrots or a combination).
*Substitute milk or half and half for half or all of the chicken broth.
*Use fruit juice in place of some of the broth (I use a few tablespoons of lemon juice or orange juice).
*Add additional minced herbs or ground spices at the beginning or end of the sauce making process. Those added at the beginning will become better incorporated, those at the end will retain more flavor.
*Add chopped or crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce in place of or in addition to some of the stock (this is my favorite when served with beef).
*If using milk as part of the liquid, add 2-4 oz. of shredded cheese.
This is a staple that can be used in hundreds of recipes. It is very versatile and easy to adapt to whatever you are serving. Try to always take advantage of the browned bits and juices leftover from cooking any meat. I love the taste of sage with chicken so I always add it to my gravy but you can use the same seasonings you used in your meat to add additional depth and flavor. Even if you haven't sauted or roasted meat, you can still make this gravy/sauce- just follow the same directions in a clean saute pan. Your gravy will have a little less flavor because it won't have the browned bits but it will still be really good.
At least once a week I steam several vegetables, sauté or roast some chicken or beef, then make a gravy to serve over the meat and vegetables. It’s quick and easy. Use this technique after cooking a roast, steaks, pork chops or chicken. Variations inspired from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.