Traditionally, gravy is made by combining some sort of fat, such as butter or drippings, with flour to make a roux. If you don't have any flour to hand, though, or you need a gluten-free version, gravy can be thickened with cornstarch as in this recipe adapted from the Mayo Clinic.
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Cornstarch Gravy Ingredients
- Drippings from turkey, chicken, pork or roast beef: Use the juice from the pan you used to roast the meat, unless you need vegetarian gravy — in which case, skip this ingredient.
- 4 cups unsalted stock, divided: You can use turkey stock at Thanksgiving, beef stock if you're making a roast or chicken stock if you're having a traditional chicken dinner. Even vegetable stock works for those looking for a vegetarian or vegan gravy.
- 4 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped: Top options include sage and thyme. Remove the herbs from their stems and chop them up finely.
- 1 cup milk: Choose skim for a lower-fat, lower-calorie gravy, but go up to 2 percent or whole milk if you would like a creamier, richer option.
- 1/4 cup cornstarch: According to the Gluten Intolerance Group, this gluten-free starch can thicken the gravy if you don't want to use flour.
How to Make Cornstarch Gravy
- Collect the drippings for a flavorful gravy. To make a brown gravy recipe with drippings, start by putting the pan in which you roasted the meat on the stovetop over a medium heat. If it's a large pan, you might need to use two stovetop burners. If you're making a vegetarian gravy, skip to step three.
- Combine the stock with the drippings. Pour 2 cups of stock into the pan and use a whisk to mix the liquids together, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Put a strainer over a fat separator cup and pour the liquid through the sieve.
- Transfer the mixture to a saucepan. Add as much of the remaining liquid as you need to make 4 total cups of liquid. If you're making a vegetarian gravy, start here by pouring 4 cups of stock into the saucepan. Bring the liquid to a simmer.
- Flavor the stock with fresh herbs. Add all the herbs to the stock, and continue to simmer until the stock has reduced by one-quarter. There should be 3 cups of liquid left.
- Prepare the cornstarch slurry. This gravy thickens with a milk and cornstarch mixture known as a "slurry." Pour the milk into a bowl and add the cornstarch. Whisk to combine the mixture evenly.
- Thicken the herbed gravy. Slowly add the milk mixture to the saucepan, whisking constantly as you pour. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for three to five minutes or until your homemade gravy has reached the thickness you desire.
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Troubleshooting Homemade Gravy
If your homemade gravy hasn't turned out exactly how you like it, do a little troubleshooting with help from the National Turkey Federation.
If the cornstarch gravy turns out too thick, add more milk or broth and whisk slowly until the gravy has thinned out. If it's lumpy — perhaps because you didn't whisk the cornstarch enough with the milk — use a whisk to beat the gravy until smooth. If your gravy is too light in color, add a 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee.
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