This is more a how-to than a recipe. You’ll need:
- butter or other fat like olive oil, bacon grease, etc. (1/4 cup should serve about 4 people, roughly)
- milk or other liquid — water, broth
Melt the butter or fat in a skillet over medium heat. Add enough flour to absorb the butter and form a thick paste. Generally, the proportion of flour to fat is about equal parts. Stir this like you are stir-frying it. You’ll find that it will slightly brown. If you want a darker brown sauce, brown the flour more. If you want a lighter gravy, not as much. You want to cook the flour slightly to remove the raw flour taste. If I’m going to use milk, I’ll sometimes add some bouillon powder along with the flour to get the flavor all the way through the mix easily.
Add the liquid a little at a time and stir with a whisk. Reduce the heat. You’ll find the amount of liquid can vary greatly, but it will begin thickening right away. Lower the temperature and let it simmer just until it reaches the consistency you want. If it is too thick, add more liquid. If it is too thin, you can raise the temperature and let it thicken a bit more. If it is still too think, try adding in a little cornstarch and letting it almost boil for a minute. Be careful if you’re adding dairy to not bring it to a harsh boil or it will develop a film.
Taste the gravy. Add seasonings that you find appropriate for the meal. Often, a sprinkle of pepper is enough. Poultry seasoning goes well with gravy made from the turkey drippings. Let your taste — and that of your family — be your guide on this one.
You’ll find that once you’re comfortable with the process, you can produce a fine batch of gravy in about 5 minutes while the meat is cooling enough to be carved. All from scratch. Don’t tell anyone how easy it is.
I have a little gravy boat on a warmer that matches my crock pot. Tossing the gravy in this keeps it warm without continuing to thicken, and it can be served right from the warmer. IF you manage to have any gravy left over after the meal, you can save it and add it to soups or pot-pies.