How to make great gravy

Sauce from the juices of roasted or sauteed meat or fowl. Before making gravy, separate the meat juices from the fat. You can pour the pan drippings into a special cup that separates fat and juice. Or pour them into a heat-proof cup and set it in cold water; the fat will rise to the top. Another technique is to siphon the fat from the the pan with a baster, then pour the juices into a cup. Retain 1/4 cup of fat in the roasting or saute pan. To the meat juices add enough hot water or broth and a little wine, if desired, to make 2 cups.

To make a basic brown gravy, heat the fat in the roasting or saute pan until sizzling. Stir in 1/4 cup flour. Stir over moderate heat until bubbly. Add the hot liquid and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you wish, strain the gravy into a sauceboat.

For thicker gravy, use 5 tablespoons flour. For thinner gravy, reduce the flour to 2 tablespoons.

Giblet gravy: Add finely chopped, cooked poultry gizzards and hearts to gravy after it has thickened.

Mushroom gravy: Saute 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms in the drippings before adding the flour.

Au jus gravy: Skim all the fat from the pan drippings. Place the roasting or saute pan over moderate heat and stir the brown bits up from the bottom. Omit the flour. Add 1 cup meat juices mixed with liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until bubbling.

Red-eye gravy: Prepare just like au jus, except use the drippings from sauteed country ham. Hot coffee is sometimes used as the liquid.

Cream gravy: Cook fat with flour as for brown gravy. Stir in 1 cup turkey or chicken broth and cook until smooth and thick. Stir in 1 cup light cream or milk; cook until smooth.

Sour cream gravy: Add 1 cup sour cream to the basic recipe; do not boil.