Saturday, November 7, 2015

Simple Gravy from Scratch

I started this blog a little over five years ago. I had just retired then and thought it might be an interesting way to spend my time. I would try out recipes that look interesting to me and if they were good, I would write them up in my blog.

So 5 years later and with 385 separate blogs under my belt, I find that I am the fortunate victim of unintended consequences. While I had simply set out to write about good recipes I had found, something much more spectacular happened.

Let me digress. People who love to cook typically keep a folder or card file of their favorite recipes. Back in 2005, I attempted to build an electronic catalog of my faves. I bought a program for my Mac and started to create my own database.

I made it through 3 recipes. The software was so user unfriendly and clunky, it took me 3 hours to create the 3 recipes. Patience is not one of my finer virtues, so I discarded that software with all due haste. Back to file folders and recipe cards for me.

I started this blog in 2010 to pass the time and share good recipes. But the unintended consequence was that I created an electronic catalog of all my favorite recipes. Now when I want to call up a favorite recipe, I just go to my blog and use the search box to pull the recipe up.

And while I'm elated that I have my database of recipes at my fingertips, it's interesting to note that nearly 150,000 other people have taken advantage of the database. As of November of 2015, I'm averaging 61 page views a day. That makes me happy.

Less than 1% of the recipes in my blog are original. I like to cook, but dislike the pedantry of trial and error. So my blog is a compilation of great chefs, writers and simple home cooks like me. I can look at a printed recipe and tell right away if it will work and what it will taste like. If I like it, I make it and if it's really good, it goes in my blog.

As a cook, I prefer simple recipes. I can do elaborate but the patience issue always rears it's ugly head. So here's a spectacular gravy recipe I stumbled across. It could not be any simpler. Butter, flour, onion powder and stock.

Now a word about stock. If you're serving a beef dish, use beef stock. For chicken dishes, use chicken stock. And actually, you can experiment, as long as you keep to the two cups of stock rule. Last Sunday I made pot roast and I simply used two cups of the braising liquid run through a strainer as the stock for my gravy.

If you are going to make turkey gravy, add some of the pan drippings to the chicken stock. Just make sure you have a total of two cups of hot liquid. This is such a simple recipe to prepare and it absolutely crushes the gravy mix you get in a packet.

4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup flour 
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups very hot stock (beef or chicken)

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add flour and onion powder. Whisk together and cook for 30 seconds, whisking as needed.
  3. Slowly add stock to flour mixture while whisking. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 minute.
  4. Pour into gravy boat and serve.

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