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Nov 30, 2007 08:48 AM

Gravy from/for ham?

My grandmother used to make a huge pot of mashed potatoes to serve with her holiday ham. She had a wonderful gravy -- a hint of sweet, a hint of salt, with a lot of savory. I'd love to recreate it for my family this year. But where to start? It's not like I could start with a lovely and fragrant pork broth...

How do you make gravy for ham? Any recipes, tips or ideas would be appreciated.

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  1. Red Eye gravy is the same as any other gravy essentially except as it's thin, you don't have to use flour or roux (though you can) - add liquid (water or coffee) to pan Stir in bits, reduce.

    1. I remember years ago, Swanson made a ham TV dinner. As a kid we would sometimes have one when Mom didn't feel like making a full dinner. It had a gravy/glaze around the ham slice. As I remember, the gravy/glaze was brown sugar/pineapple flavored. Anyone remember this?

      1. Imake gravy for my roast ham the same as I would for any other roast: good brown an drippings, liquid and a slurry to thicken. Herbs depending upon my mood and menu. For ham, I sometimes use a homemade veg. stock that's heavy on the carrots, which can give it some sweetness, although if you want a more pronounced sweet flavor, I don't see why a little brown sugar couldn't be added. Caution with ham, though - depending upon the ham, the gravy can be about the best thing you ever placed in your mouth, or it can be so salty it's nearly inedible. Taste those drippings and remove some if necessary to get a good salt balance. Or just use more stock (LOW sodium!) and make everyone happy with a large vat of gravy!

        1. Darn, I wrote a note here and it didn’t post. I’ll try to write it again.

          The pan drippings are always way too salty for me to make gravy. Some years ago, I came across the idea that soaking a ham in apple juice would cut down on a lot of the saltiness. The first time I soaked it overnight, it was wonderful! (The soaking liquid is discarded) The pan juices were just perfect for making gravy. Now, I have to tinker. I thought, that if the apple juice would take out some of the saltiness, and add a little of the apple flavour back in, maybe I could soak it in different liquids. I used the apple juice, as the acidic quality is part of what helps remove some of the salt, and also used a bottle of what’s called Jamaican style ginger beer. (I now find ginger ale to be insipid) The flavour was incredible. The gravy…well, you’d almost want to drink it! I think I used a vegetable stock, made from peels and ends, when preparing the meal. One year, I tried gently poaching the ham in the soaking liquid, maybe a half hour, before roasting it. This intensified the effect of the flavours, but didn’t make the presentation all that attractive. I’ve since thought of adding things such as hot sauces to the soaking liquid, but not tried them.


          1 Reply
          1. re: violabratsche

            Wow! I love the idea of the apple juice soak and the ginger beer. Must try this. Thank you!

          2. Wow larkspurKC, your post brought back a nice memory for me.
            Years ago, I was a single Mom and I Invited a very good friend Alice (from Dallas) to Easter dinner. She lived and worked in CA at the time, but since then has moved back.
            Well my friend from Texas thought I really knew how to make ham gravy and I had never heard of it.

            I made a ham with pineapple, brown sugar, garlic, onions and maybe cloves. I for whatever reason made gravy to go with my mashed potatoes. We never forgot that meal as it was awarded by her, the best ham she ever ate, but that the gravy itself was just incredible.

            So to answer your op, yes you can make really good gravy. I've never tried it again, because I just don't bake a lot of hams, maybe once every few years.

            If I were to try it again, I would use pineapple, brown sugar, salt and pepper garlic, onion and a tiny bit of clove (just a couple or three). Bake the ham on the pan so that it carmelizes with the sugars in the aforementioned and then deglaze with a sweet not dry wine, and then to, separately make a bechemel, then add that to the deglazed mixture, I know I did not skim any fat off eiter (hey I was 25 and didn't know any better, just starting to get into cooking). Leave the bits of pineapple and all in the gravy and strain before serving.
            Good Luck!