You can buy ready-to-mix gravy, but the really, really good stuff is made from scratch. And it doesn’t even take the Martha Stewart gene to get it right. While we’ve all had our gravy mishaps (lumpy, fatty, bland) here are some tips on how to fix a bad batch and avoid the problem the next time you make it. Trust us, after reading this article, you’ll be the Gravy Queen.
Never have bland gravy again
The secret is in the spices. If you think your gravy is ‘flat’ or ‘bland’ try adding any one of the following ingredients:
1. Herbs and spices. Try a dash of ground all spice, coriander, mustard, majoram, savory, or thyme.
2. Extracts. Try those bouillon cubes. I always keep a bunch (chicken, pork and beef flavors) in the kitchen. While true chefs would flinch in horror at using anything but pure, concentrated stock, most of us don’t spend the whole afternoon in the kitchen.
3. Alcohol. Don’t worry, the alcoholic content evaporates as the gravy is cooked, leaving nothing but the flavor. Try sherry, port, or vermouth.
4. Bottled seasonings. Reach for your Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, or even your favorite steak sauce. Add a little bit at a time to see how the flavor works.
How to fix fatty gravy
If the fat is sitting on top of the gravy, then you can skim it off. Try using a spoon, or if that doesn’t work, soaking it up with a piece of bread. If you’ve got time on your hands, let it stand for a while and then float paper towel strips on the gravy, replacing each strip as it gets soaked.
If the fat is in the middle of the gravy, then your best bet is to chill the gravy (or even freeze it). The fat will congeal and can be scooped off.
How to fix lumpy gravy
First try to whisk it off with a wire whisk, or pouring it into a mesh strainer while pressing against the lumps with a spoon. Try blending it or running it through a food processor, too.
How to fix ‘light’ gravy
Is your gravy not brown enough? Adding soy sauce or other dark seasonings may affect the flavor. You can add (gasp) a teaspoon of instant coffee—you’ll barely tell the difference.
How to fix salty gravy
If it’s very salty, you have to add liquids to the gravy to dilute the salt. If it’s just a little oversalted, you can try adding a pinch of sugar to counteract the flavor, or cooking thin slices of raw potato in the gravy until they’re translucent.
How to fix thin gravy
Gravy can only become thicker by cooking it over time, so that it evaporates and concentrates the flavor. You can speed up the process (but with a sacrifice in taste) by adding thickening agents like cornstarch or arrowroot (about one tablespoon per cup of liquid). Be sure to bring the gravy to a boil before serving to remove the flavor of cornstarch.
Making a roux also makes the gravy thicker. For every cup of liquid melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan, and add an equal amount of flour. Cook this thick paste and then whisk in the liquid.
Use these gravy secrets and our tips for perfectly roasted chicken for an easy and delicious dinner!
Photo from thefoodadvicecentre.co.uk