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Easty techniques: Roux and gravy

Are you a home cook who sometimes has trouble with certain kitchen techniques? Does this make you not want cook or think you can’t cook and give up? If so, we are here to help! We will walk you through simple kitchen tips that will encourage you to cook and make your food taste better. Then we’ll give you serving and menu suggestions on how to combine these tips with recipes to make easy & great food!



GRAVY??



Are you intimidated when asked to make gravy? Do you hide the empty gravy packets or gravy jars around the holidays from your mother or mother-in-law?



The trick to making brown gravy that tastes great involves a few easy steps:



1. First you make a roux, sound familiar? It is not as difficult as it sounds. Adding equal amounts of a non-flavored oil and flour makes a roux. For a quart of gravy (enough for a medium gravy boat) use 3 heaping tablespoons of each. Don’t use butter or olive oil. (Butter can burn and olive oil has too strong of a flavor.) In a later article we will talk about making a blonde roux, with butter, for lighter, more delicate dishes. Note: The amount of roux you make will determine how much gravy you end up with, so you can increase or decrease the flour and oil to need.



Jan seasons her flour before beginning the roux: 3 tablespoons of flour, 1/4-teaspoon each of the following: dried parsley flakes, Mrs. Dash (Southwest chipotle flavor), garlic powder, onion powder, whisk together, then add gradually to oil. She finishes with a grind of black pepper to taste.



Bruce seasons at the end, both are great, so go with your own preference!



Heat the oil over medium heat. Gradually add the flour to the heated oil (it should sizzle as you put it in). Whisk to combine and continue adding the flour a spoonful at a time until it is the consistency of paste. It should still be slightly liquid. Cook the roux until it is the color of peanut butter, making sure to stir it often. Don’t turn your back on it!



2. After the roux is peanut butter color, slowly add stock to the roux, whisking as you add it (beef, chicken, vegetable or seafood broth or stock -- low sodium is our choice -- for layer-building flavor). How much you use will depend on your roux. Add it about a cup at a time. Remember the gravy will not thicken until it boils And more stock can be added throughout the cooking process, to achieve desired thickness of the gravy. Once boiling, lower the heat, continue to stir often and cook for full rich flavor for about 20 minutes.



3. Taste the gravy and add your favorite seasoning. Be careful…it’s REALLY HOT! For darker gravy, add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet.



4. The result is tasty, smooth gravy.



Serving Suggestion: Smothered Pork Chops



Homemade gravy from Roux

4 center cut or bone in pork chops, seasoned

1-2 toes of garlic, smashed

1 large Vidalia or sweet onion, sliced

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, if desired



Make the gravy in a deep skillet, we like well-seasoned cast iron. While it is cooking, season pork chops with your favorite seasoning. (Ours include Tony Chachere’s; light seasoned salt, Mrs. Dash regular or other flavors, black pepper etc.) Sear the chops on both sides in a different hot skillet with 1-2 Tbsp. of oil. Do not cook the all the way through. Remove the chops.



To the gravy skillet, add smashed garlic (smashed with the back of a chef’s knife blade) and onion slices to the gravy. Stir. Gently slide the chops into the gravy, cook on medium low, check for fork tenderness after 45 minutes. We add the sliced mushrooms about 20 minutes into the cooking time.



Try it with chicken next time, it just as good!



Serve chops and gravy over jasmine rice (found in all local supermarkets). Prepare the rice as instructed on the container, but instead of cooking in water and with butter, substitute low-sodium chicken broth. This will enhance the flavor of the rice and overall dish.



Add a side dish of steamed vegetables and/or a green salad.



Enjoy, and don’t forget to give us your flavor rating!

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