Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

We come now to the homely Anglo-American cousin of French sauces, the starch-thickened gravy typically made to accompany a roast. This is a last-minute sauce that’s put together just before serving, and consists of the roast’s juices, extended with additional liquid, and thickened with flour. The drippings from the roast, both fat and browned solids, give the gravy its flavor and color. First the fat is poured off and reserved, and the pan is “deglazed”: the browned solids are lifted from the roasting pan with a small amount of water, wine, beer, or stock. The liquid dissolves the browning-reaction products that have stuck to the pan and so takes up their especially rich flavors. The deglazing liquid is poured off and reserved separately. Now some of the fat is returned to the pan with an equal volume of flour, and the flour cooked until it has lost its raw aroma. The deglazing liquid is added, around a cup/250 ml for every 1–2 tablespoons/10–20 gm flour. The mixture is cooked until it thickens, a matter of a few minutes.