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Liquid ingredients must be brought carefully to a slow boil before slowly adding dry ingredients while stirring continually. Do not add to much dry ingredients or let the liquid boil off. If the gravy appears to be getting too thick, have some hot water on standby to add while stirring vigorously, but it is better to have a little too much liquid which can be reduced in cooking than not enough. If you follow this, you should be able to avoid lumpy gravy. It would be good to have the rest of the meal already prepared so that your attention is not divided nor distracted. This is something of an art that requires practice and cannot be hurried.
My brother-in-law makes perfect gravy every time!! Here's what he does:
1. Heats the broth until very hot.
2. In a shaker (like the kind used to mix protein powder with juice or other liquid), he puts the flour and water and shakes vigorously. The shaker has a grid inside which helps to break up lumps. Alternately, you can put the flour and water in a bowl and use a whisk to mix until there are no lumps. Worst case, you can use a strainer.
3. Add a little bit of the flour/water mixture to the hot broth. Stir. Continue stirring. When it looks like it's all mixed in, add a little more flour/water mixture to the broth. Stir again. Keep stirring. Continue this process until the gravy is the consistency you want.
Remember that hot gravy will thicken upon standing.
He swears that the trick is to be patient when adding the flour/water mixture, not adding it all at once, and allowing time to stir the mixture thoroughly before adding more.
One important thing...do not mix your flour or cornstarch with hot water!! You have to use cold water when mixing your cornstarch with water before adding to the hot broth. A wire whisk is always good to use when stirring your thickening ingredients into the hot broth/liquid.
You need to make a Roux, which is the base for your gravy. Use some sort of fat (butter, grease from the meat that your using, in small amount with flour in a pan, it will need to cook in the pan, to get the flour taste out. It should look like loose playdough when you do this, that's the ratio of flour to grease you're looking for.
Then, with a wire whisk very slowly add the liquid from your meat or what ever broth your using, whisking CONSTANTLY so that lumps do not form. Continue to add more liquid and cook until you have the desired consistency you are looking for. I would add less liquid first so that if its too thick all you have to do is add more liquid. Its harder adding flour to already made gravy.
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