Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Karla's Cooking Made Easy - Gravy 101

Whether or not you realize it, soup and gravy are very similar (and both very easy) to prepare.

Gravies are thickened liquids prepared in the same way as cream soups.

Home made gravies (including white and cheese sauces) are so much better tasting than anything you can buy and much cheaper plus commercial gravies have way too much salt.

The gravy liquid can be stock, pan juices plus water, vegetable juices or milk - even a combination.

A thickener is a starch like flour, cornstarch, arrow root, finely ground bread crumbs or dry, instant mashed potatoes.

Other ingredients are added for flavor.

Here are the three basic ways to make gravy.

1. Starch is mixed into a bit of cold liquid (to dissolve it and separate the molecules) then whisked into the remaining liquid and the whole thing brought to a boil.

2. Starch is whisked into warm, melted fat (butter, chicken fat, bacon drippings or oil) to separate the molecules (this is called a roux) and cooked a minute or so before the liquid is whisked in and the mixture is brought to a boil.

3. Bread crumbs or dry, instant mashed potatoes are stirred into the bubbling broth of a finished recipe. The crumbs or potatoes absorb some of the liquid thickening it.

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