Wow, after that ‘big’ book I wrote last week I think I’d better write a little less this time! Boy, I was
wound and wired with all my pet peeves, that’s for dog gone sure! Let’s start prepping for Thanksgiving
this week and going over a few suggestions for making your holiday dinner stress free. I have found
over the years that I take ‘making gravy’ for granted and not everyone has mastered this yummy
accompaniment. Rest assured I’ve got everything ready for you this week.
Let’s start by talking about white gravy for biscuits and fried chicken dinners. There are lots of different
thoughts on the amount of drippings or ‘fat’ used in gravy making. I like to get by with as little fat
content as possible because I adore gravy. Since moving to the south I have found that many people
want as much fat content as they can muster!
If I’m making sausage gravy I decide how much meat is actually needed. My philosophy is if you’re
having only sausage gravy & biscuits you need to be more generous with the amount of sausage used. If
I’m serving bacon, sausage gravy, ham, etc. then I won’t use as much sausage in the gravy. For this type
of gravy I use only 1/3 -1/2 pound for my usual recipe which is called my 3 1/2 to 2 1/2 gravy. I use 3 1/2
tablespoons of flour blended into the sausage and drippings. Then I bring in 2 1/2 cups of 2% milk,
stirring to thicken. This should be enough sausage gravy for four persons, however, if I’m coming you
better make more!
When I’m making a turkey gravy I still want to make ample. Most of the time for 8-10 persons the
recipe at the bottom will generously suffice. Tonight I made a thick gravy that my husband, Ervin, will
use when he puts our evening meal in the oven around 3pm tomorrow. This past week I did one of our
family favorites where I fry chops browning evenly on both sides. Then I make a nice serving of gravy.
Drain the chops and then place them in a 9 x 13 greased baking pan. Now pour the gravy over the chops
and cover with foil. Finish baking on around 275 to 300 degrees for maybe 2-3 hours. The meat will just
fall away and the creamy gravy will be perfect over mashed potatoes or noodles.
Usually if a person wants to make their gravy or sauces with cornstarch I remind them to half of what
they use for flour when using cornstarch. IE: If the recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of flour you will only
use 2 of cornstarch. In all honesty I have used this rule and found that it’s not always accurate. Also you
can substitute arrowroot for flour for those needing another alternative. Arrowroot follows the same
rules with flour as cornstarch.
It’s definitely not too early to begin planning the holiday meal. Start writing down the dishes that will be
served and look at the timing issues which could develop if you have only one oven. Our family does the
turkey on Wednesday and then on Thanksgiving I re-heat the meat in my big steamer. It still tastes
fantastic and all the mess is out of the kitchen. The downside is there won’t be a big ‘turkey’
presentation at the table. Our family just hasn’t minded this one little bit. Actually this year I’m doing a
smoked turkey breast and a full turkey.
Not enough oven space? Today when I went to that rather large merchandise store that starts with a
‘W’ I found roasters on sale for 19.98. This is an investment you will NEVER regret. The roaster can be
used for all sorts of events from chili parties to casual buffet dinners. Crockpots can hold gravy warm,
but leave the lid off or the gravy will get runny. I had a guest a few weeks back who told me she goes on
and covers the crockpot but she places a t-towel over the top between the pot and lid to absorb the
water! You could also do some of your vegetables in the crockpot. I’m sure someone out there has
even done green bean casserole in the crockpot. Phillip, our son, has already reminded me this dish
must be present for our dinner.
For potatoes I peel and quarter the night before and cover with cold water until the next morning. This
year I plan on doing my make ahead ‘smashed potatoes’. This recipe comes from my good friend,
Sharon, these delicious potatoes can be made up to two weeks ahead of the dinner and refrigerated.
The cranberry salad/chutney was made this past week, so that one is done. Mom is bringing candied
apples so we really have that covered. Geez, I’m just about ready! Just in case the bread doesn’t rise
have something in the freezer!
Well hopefully I’ve given some of you the inspiration you were missing and you’re now inspired to get
moving on the holiday dinner. Have an enjoyable week and stay warm as the arctic air makes itself
known in the Midwest. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
3 1/2cups undiluted turkey au jus
1 1/2 cups cold water
8 tablespoons flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
Once the turkey is done remove the au jus from the bird using a baster. For 8-10 persons the amounts
above should be adequate. Place the au jus in a saucepan. In a shaker bottle or bowl make a slurry with
1 1/2 cups of cold water using a whisk. Stir the thickening into the juices while they are just about at the
boiling stage. Again use the whisk to guarantee smooth gravy. Bring the gravy to a boil again and
thicken thoroughly. If for some reason it is not thick enough then use a product called Wondra.
This product is good to have on hand all the time. It is basically a flour that has been sifted many times.
It can be sprinkled directly into a gravy or sauce and it will not leave lumps behind. Blue container
found near the flour in most stores.