Sunday, 8 February 2015

Make Your Own Gravy Mix

When I was growing up, we made all our gravy using the drippings from roast meat with some salt and pepper for flavour, the water from boiled potatoes/vegetables and some flour and water to thicken. At some point (enter Husband) I started trying to make a more restaurant-style brown gravy. Admittedly, it sure is good on fries and when there are no drippings provided by the cooking process (ie fish and chips) or just wanting to spruce up a bland au jus. Is it just me? I started buying those darned little packages of gravy mix back when they were around 65 cents each. The trouble is, they are now $1.65 on a good day and usually don't thicken. To add $1.65 to the cost of a meal when one is trying to cut expenses is counterproductive, particularly when it adds zero nutritional value and is exceptionally salty. Although we reduce salt in many areas of our diet, our kids don't like gravy so I haven't been as strict with it. However, I think that we are becoming sensitive to how salt affects our bodies and I have no desire to have swollen hands and feet at night! Basically, I would like to make a nice, tasty gravy for less, always have it on hand (soooo tired of not having the mixes!), and have some control over what is added.

Bless the world wide web! There were many recipes that were a variation of bouillon and flour, to which butter and water were added. But I also came across a site claiming to have hacked the KFC 11 herbs and spices recipe. Oh, I was all over it!

So thank you to Ron Douglas, said to have broke the code on the recipe, and "WonderHowTo" Food Hacks for making the intel available to "brilliantly lazy" home cooks like myself ;)

I happened to have both beef and chicken OXO on hand, and while I know there is nothing gourmet about it we are talking restaurant-burger-and-fries type gravy here. You can also adjust your salt content by adding less, which I might once I've had a chance to taste this a few times and tinker with it. But for anyone interested, here is how I combined a few different recipes to make a thick gravy without the use of drippings. 

Homemade Gravy Mix

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp bouillon (I used 1 part beef, 2 parts chicken for more colour)
1 tsp each: oregano, chili powder, sage, basil, marjoram, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder
1/2 tsp each: mustard powder, celery seed

I actually didn't have basil and I ran out of paprika when I made a second batch to give away. What I like about this is I can adapt the spices and amount of bouillon over time. NOTE: I ground the herbs in my mortar and pestle for a smoother gravy. 

To Make The Gravy

In a saucepan, brown 2 Tbsp butter over low heat
Whisk in 2 Tbsp gravy mix to make a thick paste
Add one cup of water slowly, whisking out any lumps as gravy thickens

We liked this gravy with homemade fries, and I used the gravy mix with extra flour and cornstarch to season and coat the chicken that I fried. We enjoyed it, and I hope that you do too! Have you ever tried  making your own sauces and seasonings?

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