I am convinced that the only way to get a good gravy is to make it yourself. 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 challenge. And does anyone out there really enjoy cold gravy? No- of course not. This is why so many people turn to jarred and dehydrated forms of gravy. (Or what I call excuses for gravy!)
I have the answer. I worked hard to perfect my make ahead gravy and admittedly am rather reluctant to share it with y’all! Just kidding, I hope you give it a try and this solves the gravy drama around the holiday bird!
Okay- it goes like this.
Step One: I season a whole chicken and I put it in the crock pot on top of upside down ramekins to elevate it. This allows the dripping to collect without the bird sitting in them. I put it on low and when cooked through, I remove the chicken and drain all the drippings into a glass container, cover the drippings and place in the fridge.
Step Two: This step is optional. You can just used boxed chicken stock but I like to enhance the flavor if it and reuse the chicken carcass. I do hate to waste! I remove the meat for chicken salad or soup and put aside and the carcass goes into a stock pot. I pour organic chicken stock over the carcass, toss in some rough chopped onion, carrot, celery, dill, herbs, spices and/or whatever else I have on hand that will enhance the boxed stock. I let that simmer for a while and pass the broth through cheesecloth to get a very clean, delightful, clear stock. Cover it and in the fridge it goes. You are done for the night and you have chicken meat for lunch and dinner tomorrow!
Step Three: The next day the fat will have separated on both the stock and the drippings. skim all the fat of of the top leaving you with pure flavor.
(Step by step photos of the drippings before skimming and after skimming, all the ingredients ready to go and the final product. )
Step Four: Place the drippings into a small sauce pan on low and let it melt back into a liquid. Add 2 cups of broth into a medium sized sauce pan. Once the drippings have liquified, add 3 tablespoons to the broth and cook over medium heat. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water and then add the mixture to the gravy pot. Stir constantly over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt, pepper, more drippings, or more cornstarch (if you want it thicker) as needed.
*repeat with leftover drippings and broth if you want more than 2 cups.
Step five: Place gravy into a container and place in fridge OR freezer. (If Freezing, defrost in fridge a day or two in advance of using) The gravy will form into the shape of the container and need to be reheated over a low heat. (kind of like Jell-o!) Once it starts to break down, use an immersion blender to get it back to its original, silky consistency and serve! I actually have a mini crock pot that I transfer it to to keep it nice and hot.
OK, OK…It seems like a lot of work. But its really not and it is so much better than using that stuff from a jar that contains all those things I can’t pronounce! And by making it in advance you have no big mess to clean up, no last minute rushing, its already been seasoned to perfection and its low fat because you had the time to skim all that nastiness off while preserving the flavor. If you’ve had my gravy…you’d understand why its time to ditch the jar and package!