Growing up in a meat and potatoes family, gravy was served at our table at least once a week. The real stuff (the good stuff!), seasoned with pan drippings. My mom probably never even knew that gravy existed in a can, and if she did she was kind enough to keep her disgust to herself. Why buy it when you can make it better?
While the thought of making gravy to go with my fried chicken or chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes used to be no less than intimidating, I’ve learned with some practice that it’s just the thought that intimidates. The process is actually pretty smooth!
Cream Gravy for Fried Chicken or Chicken Fried Steak
- pan drippings
- beef or chicken bouillon
- salt and pepper
- potato water
There’s a reason I didn’t provide measurements. Gravy making is a no-measure process for me. I’ll do my best to give you some approximates as we go.
1. Remove cooked meat from the skillet (chicken fried steak pictured) and save the drippings. Do not scrape anything out of the pan!
2. Make sure there are at least 2 Tbsp. of oil still in the pan. If not, add a bit. If you have more than 1/4 cup of oil in the pan, remove some… but leave the drippings!
3. Stir in about 2 tsp. bouillon into the drippings (for flavor).
4. Add flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until you get this consistency. Not thick and clumpy, but not runny. Cook for a minute or two, stirring frequently.
5. If you remembered to save some potato water, add about 1/2 cup, stirring constantly. The gadget you see me stirring with is a nylon gravy whisk. Nice, but not necessary. A regular whisk will work fine. No potato water? No problem… just start adding milk slowly, stirring constantly.
6. Continue to add milk slowly, stirring constantly, until the gravy reaches desired consistency. Desired consistency? Hmmm… I watch the bubbles. They look something like this. Also, if I’m stirring quickly I like it to be thick enough that I can see the bottom of the skillet briefly as I stir.
7. If you start to panic and you’re not sure if it’s too thick or too thin, turn the heat off. It will thicken as it cools. If it gets too thick, add a little milk. Too thin? Mix 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and a little water in a cup. Dump it in the gravy and ramp up the heat to bubbling again. Cook for another couple of minutes.
8. Season with salt and pepper.