Cooking On A Budget: How To Make Beef Gravy

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How To Make Beef Gravy


I have simple rules for making delicious gravy each and every time. Generally I make plenty of gravy when doing a pot roasted beef or roast beef so that the left over gravy can be used into another meal. At the bottom of this post I address how you would make a beef gravy if you haven't made either a roast beef or pot roast dinner.

  1. Start with a good piece of beef that has a good fat cap and good marbling throughout the beef. If the beef does not have a good fat cap (Eye of the Round Roasts are a good example), ask your grocery store butcher if he/she can provide you with some. To secure the fat cap, tie it to the roast with butchers twine.
  2. Always add chunks of onion, celery and carrot to the roasting pan.
  3. Add beef broth at the very end of the cooking time when doing "roasted beef" or at the beginning if making a braised pot roast.
  4. When your roast is fully cooked to your liking, remove from the pan to rest. Make a slurry with cornstarch and water or beef broth (approximately 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup liquid). Set aside.
  5. Set your roasting pan on top of the stove over medium to medium high heat and add water or broth. If you want to make sure you have left-over gravy, be sure and add plenty of water or broth.
  6. Using a whisk, and with a circular motion stir the liquid and pick up all of the pan drippings from the bottom and sides of the pan.
  7. If your liquid has lots of fat, use a fat separator and transfer the liquid to a saucepan.
  8. Bring the mixture up to a boil. At this point I like to add in some Gravy Master.*
  9. Pour in the slurry mixture a little at a time and keep whisking until you have the consistency of the gravy you like. The more slurry, the thicker the gravy. Turn the heat back to low and cook for 1 minute more while still whisking.
Use the above principles for making gravy for poultry or pork. If you are making poultry or pork, substitute chicken or turkey broth in place of beef broth. For lamb roasts I would use beef broth, or a combination of beef and chicken broth.
* Gravy Master is available at your grocery store. I use this in all of my homemade gravy, whether I am making beef, poultry or pork gravy. It adds flavor and gives the gravies a darker color.
Tips: You can substitute flour, Wondra or Arrowroot for thickening agents. You won't know how thick your gravy will be until it comes to a full boil.

Question: What happens if I did not make a roast beef or pot roast and I want beef gravy for say a meat loaf dinner?
Answer: Buy a good beef stock or broth. My go to broth although it is expensive is Campbells® Beef Broth which generally sells for $1.99 for a small can. What I do is cut up half of a smaller sized onion, a large carrot and a stalk of celery into large chunks. I put the beef broth (one can for a smaller amount, two cans for more) in a medium sized sauce pot along with a drop or so of Gravy Master® and the chunks of vegetables. Then I let this simmer covered for about 45 minutes to an hour until the vegetables have softened and released their flavor. After that I remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and taste for pepper or salt. Then I make a slurry with the cornstarch and water - about 2 tbsp. of cornstarch to 1/2 cup or so of water. Whisk the slurry well. Bring the broth up to a boil and slowly add the slurry and whisk until you reach the desired thickness of the gravy.
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