How to make a homemade poultry gravy including three recipes.
There must be a hundred and one variations on how to make gravy, ranging from the simplest method, by using gravy granules and adding boiling water, to the most time consuming, which involves making a home made stock, using the fat drippings from the roasting tin and adding flour to thicken.
Making proper gravy can be tricky but not impossible. It is best to have all the ingredients to hand, as time is of the essence.
The secret of a beautiful smooth gravy without lumps is in the stirring, which must be done continuously from start to finish. In any case, lumpy gravy can be resolved simply by straining the gravy to remove the lumps.
With a little practice, in no time at all you will be serving perfect gravy with your meals every time.
Gravy is a traditional accompaniment for a roast meat or poultry dinner but can also be served with other dishes such as chicken pies with mashed potatoes or even with just chips.
The best poultry gravies are made from the drippings and juices of the roasting poultry, which are then combined with a homemade stock, flour to thicken and herbs. The stock can be prepared on a previous occasion or during the roasting time but you will need at least an hour and a half to make it.
You can use other liquids instead of a homemade stock to make your gravy. Try adding wine, water with a stock cube, tinned chicken soup, milk or even a little cream.
For a delicious gravy you should season your poultry meat well before cooking.
As the meat slowly roasts, all the flavours from the spices and any other ingredients will flavour the meat and also flavour the drippings and fat, resulting in a rich and tasty gravy.
Add a few vegetables into the bottom of the roasting tin or even place them inside the body cavity of the bird if you are roasting chicken or turkey. You will achieve a flavoursome gravy by adding a chopped onion, a few cloves of garlic, tomatoes or celery. Do not forget to season the meat with salt, pepper and other herbs of your choice too.
Gravy can be made in the same roasting tin after removing the cooked bird or if you prefer in a separate saucepan and there are basically two different methods of making a gravy.
As a general rule, for every cup of gravy required, you should use 2 tablespoons of fat (drippings), 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of liquid. For an extra thick gravy, you could use up to 3 tablespoons of both flour and fat to the one cup of liquid.
Experiment with ingredients and maybe you could even come up with your own gravy recipe to suit your tastes, or if you prefer, stick to the recipes given below.
Simple gravy for roast poultry meats
Ingredients (for 2 cups of gravy)
- 3 - 4 tablespoons of poultry meat drippings and juices
- 3 - 4 tablespoons of plain flour
- 2 cups of stock (see our guide on how to make a poultry stock)
- salt and pepper to taste (optional)
- Once the poultry meat has been properly cooked, remove it from the roasting tray and set aside in a warm place to allow the meat to rest and to reabsorb the juices before carving.
- Tilt the roasting tray so that the remaining juices and fat run down to one end. The fat will separate from the juices.
- Spoon most of the lighter coloured fat into a separate bowl, leaving about two tablespoons of the fat in the tray plus all of the juices. The discarded fat may be used at another time to make more gravy.
- Place the roasting tray onto the stove over a medium heat.
- As soon as the juices and fat start to sizzle, add the two tablespoons of plain flour and immediately stir and whisk briskly with either a flat wooden spoon or a wire whisk. Make sure that you cook the flour for long enough to remove the raw floury taste.
- The flour should blend into the fat and juices and form a smooth and brown paste. Make sure that you scrape the sides and bottom of the tin so that all the browned bits are also combined into the mixture.
- When you have obtained a smooth paste, slowly begin to add the stock a little at a time and continue to stir quickly. Turn the heat up slightly and continue to blend the gravy until it reaches boiling point.
- Once the gravy begins to boil, it will immediately start to thicken. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, still stirring continuously until just before the desired consistency is reached, as the gravy will continue to thicken even after it has been taken off the heat. If the gravy is too thick, add some more stock or liquid.
- Season with salt and pepper if you need to.
- Pour the gravy into a warm serving jug just before you are ready to serve it.
Simple gravy - deglazing method
Ingredients (for 1 cup of gravy)
- poultry meat juices from the roasting tray
- ½ a cup of stock
- ½ a cup of wine
- salt and pepper
- Once you have removed the cooked poultry meat from the roasting tray, spoon off most of the fat from the tray but leave the meat juices.
- With a wooden spoon, scrape the sides and bottom of the tray to loosen the brown bits, which contain all the flavour.
- Add the wine and stock and cook over a fairly high heat for a couple of minutes, stirring briskly the whole time until the liquids begin to boil.
- As the gravy cooks it will start to reduce, resulting in a concentrated but thin gravy. The longer the gravy is cooked the more it will reduce and the stronger the taste will be.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
- 2 white onions
- 1 red onion
- 10½ fl oz (300 ml) of chicken stock
- 3½ fl oz (100 ml) of red wine, white wine or Madeira
- 3 oz (85 g) of butter
- 1 tbsp of plain flour
- 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper
- Slice the onions into thin rings.
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, add the sliced onion rings and cook the onions on a gentle heat for around 20 minutes or until they are soft.
- Reduce the heat to very low and leave the onions to cook for about an hour, until they are brown in colour.
- After an hour, once the onions are really soft, add the flour and stir continuously. Cook for a few minutes to lose the raw taste of the flour.
- Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring vigorously and then add the wine and Worcestershire sauce.
- Bring to the boil, stirring constantly and then reduce the heat and leave the gravy to simmer for a final 10 - 15 minutes. Stir frequently and season to your taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve just before you are ready to use.