Alicia Ross
Universal Uclick

Whether your family prefers rice or potatoes with your Thanksgiving meal, you are going to want to make gravy. Sure, you can buy gravy packets, even ready-made gravy, but there’s nothing like homemade gravy with the drippings from your roasted, baked or pan-fried meat.

You can even make vegetarian gravy, which is delicious and can even fool the heartiest meat-eater. Today’s recipe is as much a formula as it is a traditional procedure. It is super-flexible and adaptable to your meal.

The general guidelines are that 2 tablespoons of fat or drippings will yield about 1˝ cups of gravy. If your meat is particularly lean and doesn’t produce enough drippings, then butter can help pump it up. In the case of the vegetarian gravy, butter serves as the main fat component.

You can make gravy with cornstarch, but my grandmother taught me using flour. I don’t think the velvety texture of flour-based gravies can be beat. I also like to “darken” the gravy by browning the flour and drippings, making a beautiful burnished color. Even turkey gravy can be a delectable brown completely naturally.

All you have to decide is whether to cook rice or potatoes. Then stir up this simple homemade gravy and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

Basic Homemade Gravy

2 tbsp. meat drippings or butter

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1˝ to 2 cups of broth, water and/or half-and-half, or any combination of the three

Salt to taste

In a regular skillet, stir together the meat drippings (or butter) and flour over medium-high heat, making a paste. Brown the flour mixture as much or as little as desired. Slowly add the liquid (broth, water or half-and-half), whisking constantly. Add only enough liquid to the pan to mix well with the flour mixture and thicken. Bring mixture back to a boil before adding more liquid, whisking constantly.

Taste the gravy and make adjustments with more liquid or salt. Serve immediately.

Makes about 1˝ cups.

Each tablespoon has about 20 calories, 1.6 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 4 milligrams cholesterol, 0.6 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, no dietary fiber, 80 milligrams sodium.

Alicia Ross is the co-author of three cookbooks. Contact her c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, email tellus@kitchenscoop.com, or visit http://kitchenscoop.com.