I don't like to brag, (Okay, I totally like to brag.) but this granny is known far and wide for making really great sauces and gravies. It's only fair, because I can't bake worth a darn. (Don't report that to the Granny's Union, or they might try to take back my card.)
I'm just surprised at how many people claim they can't make good gravy, because honestly, it's not rocket surgery. But if you are one of those people, let me show you how it's done.
Whatever kind of gravy you want to make: chicken, turkey, beef, it all works the same way.
It starts with pan drippings. You know -- the greasy, charred-looking mess you find at the bottom of the pan whenever you roast meat. Never discard that. It is flavor gold.
Even if you're not planning to make gravy, deglaze that stuff and refrigerate it in a small airtight container for a myriad of other delicious uses.
To deglaze, simply add a small amount of liquid. Water is fine, but broth is even better. Even a little wine isn't wrong. And stir, scrape, slosh with a slotted spoon until suddenly that greasy, crispy mess starts to look brown, rich and yummy.
Once you have incorporated every tasty bit into your pan juice, pour it through a mesh strainer into a measuring cup. Then add approximately the same amount of broth (chicken, beef, whatever) to end up with an even number of cups. For instance, I started with just under 1 cup of pan juice, and I added a little more than 1 cup of chicken broth to end up with a full 2 cups of base liquid for my gravy.
The reason this is important is because perfect gravy is a combination of 1 cup of liquid to 1 tablespoon each of fat and flour in the form of a roux.
A roux, (correctly pronounced, "yeah, baby!") is simply equal amounts of fat and flour, cooked until golden.
A classic roux uses clarified butter, but any good quality fat will work just fine. Regular butter, coconut oil, ghee, bacon grease, whatever. Just don't use margarine. For one thing, it is a poison. For another, most margarine contains quite a bit of water. If you don't believe me, melt some butter in one pan and margarine in another. The difference will be noticeable. Then throw out the margarine. Not just the stuff you melted -- all of it.
So, if you have 2 cups of base liquid (pan juices and broth), you will need to melt 2 tablespoons of fat in a skillet over medium heat and mix in 2 tablespoons of flour to make an unappetizing greasy paste. Don't give up. Just keep cooking, keep stirring and stirring with that slotted spoon a couple of minutes or so, until your paste starts to brown.
Next add in about a fourth of your base liquid and stir, stir, stir some more. It's still not going to look like gravy, but keep stirring and slowly adding liquid ...
... until finally the stuff in your pan begins to look like a thin gravy. Raise the heat to medium high and keep stirring to reduce this to the desired thickness.
Finally, take a taste. Depending on how well you seasoned your meat in the roasting process, this may taste just fine, but chances are, you'll want to add a little salt or maybe some herbs in the final few minutes of cooking.
And there you have it: delicious homemade gravy. Better than anything you'll ever find in a jar.