ENCORE: Good gravy

1fc00 1322535298 Dsc 0268 2.5a0f302471c78
Photo credit: Brad Kaplan

Our family Thanksgiving meal was fabulous, but it wasn't the turkey or the cranberries or the dressing that really distinguished it from other meals it was the gravy. Gravy is the glue (forgive the unappetizing term) that brings the Thanksgiving meal together. It bridges the turkey to the dressing to the cranberries to the rolls. It magically works with just about everything. I could (almost) just drink it straight from the gravy boat (I do admit to having several straight shots of it while cooking). And it's something that I lamentably rarely eat the rest of the year, let alone cook at home. But why not?

Well, there are two reasons gravy is not particularly healthy, and it is rather time consuming to make. That's a combination that can banish any recipe to the "don't bother" list, at least any recipe that does not include chocolate. Or caramel. Or large amounts of bacon. But, really, homemade gravy is not that bad for you - a bit of butter, yes, a bit more poultry fat, sure. But a lot of that fat gets skimmed away, leaving just a wee bit of fatty deliciousness. At least that's what I like to think.

As for the time consuming part, it's true. To make a good gravy, there are several steps that, while fairly easy, take time and patience. There are variations on a good gravy recipe, of course, but the tack I took this year (and last) had three major stages first, heavily browning some turkey wings and legs in butter along with some mirepoix (that's French for carrots, celery and onion); second, deglazing with a bunch of stock (I admit to taking a shortcut here and using store-bought); and third, combining the rich stock and drippings from the cooked turkey with some fresh herbs and a quick roux (that's French for butter and flour whisked together I just realized there's a third possible reason not to make gravy it may involve usage of French words that end in X like roux and mirepoix!). The result though is well worth the time just thick enough to have body, rich and deep from the marriage of butter and turkey and high heat, packed with flavor thanks to the herbs. You could do it just as easy with chicken, and the time it takes to roast a chicken at home is perfect to accommodate the gravy making.

Our Thanksgiving gravy left me thinking that I need to make gravy, need to make sauces, more often. But gravy at dinner and classically influenced sauces in general seem relegated to the dustbin of history and stuffy steakhouses. Sauce is no longer the glue that holds together many a meal. I know it's a month or so early for New Year's resolutions, but this year, I resolve to bring back the glue, to make more sauces, more gravy, and... OK... more trips to the gym.

P.S. If ever there was a worthy name for a vessel, it is that of the "gravy boat." A boat of gravy. Fit for the high seas. I'd like to see a regatta of gravy boats and sushi boats racing towards victory. Oh buoy.

More By This Writer


Monday February 19, 2018 04:59 pm EST
Gloriously anachronistic and free from all frills, Mt. Paran Country Store makes Buckhead work | more...


Wednesday January 3, 2018 06:00 pm EST
It's the Korean take-out shop you never knew you needed | more...


Thursday November 30, 2017 01:54 am EST
Eduardo Porto Carreiro. It's a damn good name for a sommelier, isn't it? Exotic, complex with a touch of mystery? The man himself, like his actual title he was just promoted to beverage director for all Ford Fry Restaurants is more down to earth. After establishing a notable wine career in Los Angeles and New York, Porto Carreiro moved to Atlanta in March, along with his "very pregnant wife"... | more...


Monday November 13, 2017 06:31 pm EST
If there were an award for smiling-est bartender in town, Tiffanie Barriere, a.k.a the Drinking Coach, would surely be a finalist. Barriere may be best known for her long stint seven and a half years running the award-winning drinks program at One Flew South, the restaurant/bar that literally set the bar for airport awesomeness. But to Atlanta's tight-knit bartender community, Barriere is like... | more...


Wednesday November 8, 2017 04:32 pm EST
Marc Mousseau likes to tell a story. He's in a room full of people in Atlanta, asking four progressively more challenging questions about their familiarity with the Ossabaw pig. The story ends with a single audience member holding his hand up, the lone individual in the crowd who has not only heard of Ossabaw Island and the Ossabaw Island pig breed, but has actually eaten Ossabaw pork more than... | more...
Search for more by Brad Kaplan