Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gravy Training

One of the most important parts of any holiday dinner is the gravy. It can be the thin au jus which lets thee meat shine or a thick, rich sauce that's perfect on slices of turkey and bread. The secret to any gravy is a good recipe and how you make it. It' not just luck. Technique and know how play important roles too.

What exactly is au jus?It's from the French and means with it's own juice.It's used primarily with beef dishes like prime rib or London Broil but it can be used with turkey too. To prepare  all home chefs have to do simply skim the fat off the meat after cooking and mixed with water .It is then heated  until bubbling an d then poured over the meat. A sandwich can be made,using the roast and typically French bread,  and it can be dunked in the gravy. This is called a French dip and is very popular in diners and some restaurant chains like Denny's and Friendly's. Soy sauce and Worcester sauce can be added to enhance the brown color along with brown sugar, garlic and onion , these last added to enhance the flavor. Turkey au jus is easy to make.It's just skimming the juices from the bottom of the pan. You can add dry white wine or butter to stretch it.You can also add a cup of chicken broth to stretch it out if you want. Au jus can be frozen for three month however be warned. Freezing and then reheating makes it lose its' flavor. It's better off eaten fresh with the meat.

Many people prefer the thicker kind of gravy. After all, it goes well with everything from slices of whte meat to mashed potatoes to stuffing.It's also good reheated, ,moistening a sandwich made with leftovers. This gravy is easy  to make. It starts with a roux, a mix of butter or fat with flour and water. Home chefs can omit the butter, because the drippings already have fat.Drain the drippings off the bird along with skimming off the fat. This last will be mixed with a 1/4 cup of flour and will be whisked into a smooth almost paste like gravy. Pour the dripping into this until thick and creamy. Constant stirring and whisking  is key here..Gravy can lump up which can ruin it. If there are any flour lumps, then break them up with a fork and then forcefully stir into the liquid.If you want a meatier version then add the giblets. These are the gizzards, neck, liver and heart of the bird and should be cooked for at least an hour or until they're tender before adding.They're then minced and added to the gravy.It's recommended to cook these before you start on the main part. Leftover gravy should be refrigerated right after using due to the fact that it's a bacteria magnet. It can be frozen for up to four months in an airtight container.

Gravy, whether it's the delicate au jus,or the hearty thick kind adds so much to  the Thanksgiving dinner. Make either one for a tasty plus that goes with both bird and stuffing . They'll not only enhance dinner but also make the leftovers special too.

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