In today’s world of canned juices and jarred food galore, the supermarket seems to have a we need for dinner. We seem to forget, though, that many of the things we enjoy (out of a can or a jar; and sometimes a powdered packet mixed with milk or water) were once freshly made at home and, indeed, can still be made easily, quickly and enjoyed far more than those processed goods.
Homemade gravy is one of those items. During most holiday family dinners there tends to always be mashed potatoes and gravy. Like many people of my generation, I have to admit that I can never remember a time when I ever had gravy during a family-made meal (whether it was Thanksgiving or Christmas) that was ever freshly homemade. I always remember it coming from a can or a jar. In later years, I can (however sad) recall, that the canned or jarred gravy was downgraded to the instant packet kind (a la Folger’s instant coffee or Jello) where you just add hot milk or water.
It’s actually quite a shame because, after I made the decision to be the head chef for all the family holiday meals, I started making more and more of the dishes from scratch. When I got around to the gravy, I was a bit fearful. I didn’t want to make a blunder of it and I sure didn’t want to go the distance of making gravy and end up with a bland and boring sauce that everyone would dislike (There is nothing more upsetting then hearing everyone say that they prefer the store bought stuff better than your homemade stuff). Luckily, through trial and error, I was able to make a delicious gravy that was better than any store bought brand.
This recipe is simple and can be made up to a week beforehand. You can add or substract and of the herbs and spices to suit your tastes. Cheers!
-1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
-1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon of black pepper
-1 teaspoon of salt
-15 oz. (1 can) of beef broth
-2 large carrots
-1 medium onion
-3 stalks of celery
-1 tablespoon of minced or chopped garlic
-1 cup of whole milk or heavy cream
-1 teaspoon oregano
1. Dice (or chop) the onion, three celery stalks and the two carrots.
2. In a medium cooking pot combine the celery, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, garlic and oregano.
3. Sautee the vegetables, over medium heat, until they are translucent (for about 8 minutes).
4. Add the one can of beef broth to the pot.
5. Bring broth and vegetables to a boil.
6. Reduce the heat to low.
7. Simmer for 20 minutes.
8. Remove the pot from the heat and pout the liquid and the vegetables into a blender.
9. Blitz or puree the vegetables and set the mixture aside.
10. Clean out the pot (or use a clean one--I just use the same one to save having to clean two pots).
11. Add Butter and the flour to the pot (once again over medium heat) to make the roux.
12. Once you have a "blonde roux" (see picture) add the milk.
13. Stir constantly and bring to a boil. continue cooking until the cream sause (bechamel sauce)will coat the back of a spoon. (see picture).
14. Once you have a thickened cream sauce, add the puree of beef broth and vegetables and whisk together.
15. Taste the gravy and reseason as needed.
16. Serve the gravy hot with mashed potatoes or over biscuits.
17. Store any unused portion of gravy in an air tight container in the fridge. (It should last up to a week.)