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Thread: All-Purpose Gravy from Almost Nothing (Cook's Illustrated)

  1. #1
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    This one's quick and easy and can be flavored with any meat or poultry drippings.

    Rita

    ALL-PURPOSE GRAVY

    Makes 2 cups. This gravy can be served with almost any type of meat or poultry or with mashed potatoes. If you would like to double the recipe, use a Dutch oven to give the vegetables ample space for browning and increase the cooking times by roughly 50 percent. The finished gravy can be frozen. To thaw either a single or double recipe, place the gravy and 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan over low heat and bring slowly to a simmer. The gravy may appear broken or curdled as it thaws, but a vigorous whisking will recombine it.

    1 small carrot , peeled and chopped into rough 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
    1 small rib celery , chopped into rough 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
    1 small onion , chopped into rough 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    2 cups low-sodium beef broth
    1 bay leaf
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    5 whole black peppercorns
    Table salt and ground black pepper

    1. In food processor, pulse carrot until broken into rough 1/4-inch pieces, about five 1-second pulses. Add celery and onion; pulse until all vegetables are broken into 1/8-inch pieces, about five 1-second pulses.

    2. Heat butter in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and well browned, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add broths; bring to boil, skimming off any foam that forms on surface. Reduce heat to medium-low and add bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 3 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.

    3. Strain gravy through fine-mesh strainer into clean saucepan, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

    Source: Cook's Illustrated, November 2003

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  4. #4
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    This "gravy base" freezes well; I always double or triple the recipe. I freeze mine in 2-cup portions in Ziploc bags. Freeze flat. Once frozen, the bags can stand upright in a box in the freezer.

    It is tasty as a stand-alone gravy. I made some meatballs the other day and didn't want a red sauce, so I added 2 cups of the gravy base to the pan of lightly browned meatballs and pressure-cooked them together for about 6 minutes (high pressure + cold water quick release) so the meatballs finished cooking in the gravy and the gravy deglazed the pan. This gravy base works well with roast or grill-roasted pork or chicken or turkey (if you use a rack & pan) drippings as well. It's a great time-saver.

    Rita
    Last edited by Rita Y; 11-20-2014 at 06:54 PM.

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    Mmmm, gravy, I'll take a cup.

  6. #6
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    Only a cup?

    Which reminds me, I am out of the gravy base in the freezer and need to make some more. I pack it in 1- and 2-cup portions in pint and quart Ziploc freezer bags, making sure I get all of the air out. Freeze flat and then stand up in a small crate or box. The gravy base freezes very well.

    Rita

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    Well Rita, the rest would be in I.V. Form. The better to increase consumption.

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    I like to freeze it in old butter tubs. Then pop it out of the mold and vacuum seal. It stacks nicely.

  9. #9
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    Well, I understand the addiction to gravy, but consider the cons - it bypasses the taste buds...a sad thing.

    Butter tubs. I don't even remember them; only 1-pound bricks and packages of 4 sticks, but that's a neat trick if you can pop them out of the molds. I don't bother to F/S mine when I make sure the air is completely out of the bags. Then I get no freezer burn and I usually use up a batch in less than 6 months, their shape is space-saving, and they thaw quickly in an emergency when the addiction kicks in.

  10. #10
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    Yeah, the butter tub makes a nice neat package, VS or not. It stacks nicely and allows you to store more. I vacuum seal because it's just me and I hate wasting good gravy. It's all personal choices, hey, the vacuum sealer is a tool how can I resist?

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