The Covered Dish: Gravy/sauces

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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

Turkey Gravy

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.

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