Saturday, November 19, 2011

0 Home made gravy vs Bottled Gravy & Dry Gravy Mix

It's the start of the holidays and I'll spend the rest of the year talking about different foods that we cook during the holiday season. I'm starting with gravy, primarily because it's one of those things that people waste a lot of money on, kind of like the rubs, marinades and premixed spices. Now, don't get me wrong gravy is far from healthy, whether it's from a mix or from scratch. However, I still believe making it from scratch is better for you, it's certainly cheaper, its very simple and easy to make. Advertisers have convinced people that they can't make gravy and if they do make it from scratch, it will be lumpy. Well, in all the years I've been cooking, about 30 years, I've never made lumpy gravy and I don't think you will either.

The easiest gravy to make is when you have meat drippings but if you don't have drippings you can still make home made gravy.

Home made gravy
1 - 1 1/2 c water (depending on how much gravy you need)
meat drippings
1 Tbl flour
1-2 tsp corn or potato starch (if you've added extra water)
dash of salt and pepper

Mix the flour, starch (if you don't have the starch just increase the flour by a tablespoon), salt and pepper together. Put into a glass jar that you have a lid for. Add water, put lid on and shake. If you don't have a glass jar, use a 4 cup measuring cup and stir vigorously with a fork. *If you've roasted meat and the drippings are still in the roasting pan, remove meat, place the roasting pan on the top of the stove, over low to medium-low heat, add the flour mixture to the pan. Stir continually with the fork until well mixed, raise heat to medium to medium-high stirring continually, gravy should the bubbling. When well mixed and thickened, remove from heat and serve.

*If you don't have drippings it's a little more complicated. You want to put even amounts of butter and olive oil in a frying pan, about 2-3 Tbl of each. Add a little chopped onion, garlic and carrot (about 2 Tbl of the onions and carrots, 1-2 cloves of garlic) to the pan and saute until onions begin to brown. Strain vegetables from the pan and then proceed as above.

I like to add about ¼ cup of wine to my gravy too – add it before you put in the flour/water mixture, it will deglaze the pan, removing bits of burned meat, fat and veggies from the pan and it adds a nice flavor to your gravy. Try a dry white, like a chardonnay, with turkey or chicken, use a burgundy or merlot with pork or beef.


Price of home made gravy: about .08 cents, unless you add wine – then maybe .40 cents
Price of McCormicks dry gravy mix: $2.19
Price of Heinz Homestyle Gravy: $1.79

Ingredient in home made gravy: Water, meat drippings - fat (or butter and oil), flour, corn or potato starch, salt and pepper – presumably you've also flavored your meat with garlic, onion, parsley, etc.

Ingredients in McCormicks dry gravy mix: Flour, wheat starch, beef fat, hydrolyzed soy, wheat and corn protein, onion, caramel color, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, garlic, wheat protein, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, extractives of paprika, yeast extract and citric acid

Ingredients in Heinz Homestyle Gravy: Beef stock, water, modified cornstarch, modified wheat flour, beef fat, butter, hydrolyzed soy protein, soy sauce, caramel color, whey powder, yeast extract, corn maltodextrin, sugar, dextrose, garlic powder, soy lecithin, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, onion powder, natural flavoring, cornstarch, black pepper, soybean oil, milk

Preparation time for home made gravy: About 5 minutes
Preparation time for McCormicks dry gravy mix: About 5 minutes
Preparation time for Heinz Homestyle Gravy: About 3-5 minutes

Ok, well it seems that they all take the same amount of time to make. Home made costs between $1.71 and $2.11 less to make. You can always add a little milk, as McCormick and Heinz have done if you want to. Anyway, you won't be consuming all of that salt, hidden salts (soy sauce and disodiums), sugar and hidden sugar (dextrose, maltodextrin, etc) that's in the mixes – you also won't be eating all of those chemicals either. Give it a try, it's really not that hard to do.

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