Making a roux for homemade gravy is incredibly easy, and it tastes so much better than using a powdered mix from the store! If you've just roasted a turkey or a chicken, you can use the fat from the pan drippings as the base. If you don't have pan drippings on hand, fear not! A flavorful gravy can still be made using a more traditional roux. What is a roux, you may be wondering? It's an equal portion of flour and fat, cooked together into a paste-like mixture that forms the thickening base of many sauces. Any fat can technically be used, though butter is often the source for sauces. When it comes to gravy, butter can still be used, but if possible, those pan drippings will take it to the next level.
Things You'll Need
1/4 cup fat from pan drippings (see Step 2)
Unsalted butter if needed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Step 1: Gather your Ingredients
The first thing to note is that this recipe can be scaled up quite a bit. I roasted a small chicken for the pan drippings used here, which yielded much less fat than you'd get with a large Thanksgiving turkey. Feel free to double or even quadruple the recipe as needed! This will yield enough roux for approximately 2 cups of gravy (just the right amount for serving alongside that beautifully roasted chicken).
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As noted above, roux is equal parts flour and fat. If you don't have enough fat from the pan drippings, supplement with butter. Any unsalted butter will work fine, but for best results, use a European style butter such as Plugra or Kerrygold. They have a higher butterfat percentage and the results will be richer and more decadent.
Step 2: Separate the Fat from the Pan Drippings
If you've just finished roasting a chicken or turkey, the fat and pan drippings will be intermingled. Pour them into a liquid measuring cup and place the cup in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the fat rises to the top. Use a spoon to separate the fat (reserve the pan drippings to make gravy later).
Step 3: Measure the fat.
See if there is 1/4 cup of fat. If not, add enough butter to get to 1/4 cup total.
Step 4: Start the Roux
Melt the fat in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking. Once it's simmering, whisk in the flour.
Step 5: Cook the Roux
Whisk constantly for several minutes. At first the roux will be slightly thick but will eventually start to thin out. You want to heat the mixture long enough that the flour taste cooks away. This can take up to 5 minutes.
Step 6: Store the Roux or Prepare Gravy
Once the roux is finished, you can immediately start preparing a gravy, or you can transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours.