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Tell me how to create more fonde & meat drippings!

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Hi, I'm wanting to make some chicken legs with gravy. The thing is, I want to really want to max out on gravy! I want more fond and meat drippings! Are there any special techniques that anyone here uses to get more of that yummy brown stuff?

Should I sear the chicken and then roast it? Oil up the chicken or no? Would it help is the chicken was wet or dry? Skin on or off? Lot of factors to think about here...

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  1. Heat saute pan awith oil till hot but not smoking. Use skin on chicken. Make sure it the chicken is very dry, then salt the legs. Add to pan and let sear without touching for a few minutes until golden brown. Then flip and brown the other side (if using leg/thighs). Then finish in oven. This should get the chicken nice and brown and leave some fond in the pan.

    1. Dry chicken, wee bit of oil, skin on is fine. Medium high temp to sear, then roast off.

      Perhaps, most importantly, do NOT use a nonstick pan.

      3 Replies
      1. re: QueenB

        Agreed on the nonstick pan; I was going to suggest it too. In all my years of experience, I've never had the proper glazing/caramelization in a nonstick pan.

        Another thing that helps is to add seasoning to the chicken (at least salt and pepper), and surround it with aromatics. I usually roast chicken legs with cubed potatoes, onion slices, and some rosemary or thyme sprigs tucked in. You could also use carrots, sweet potatoes, or just about anything else. Garlic cloves (leave them whole and don't peel) turn soft and mushy, and after roasting you can smoosh them into the pan drippings for extra richness.

        1. re: Kagey

          Yes, NO non stick pan. Cast iron, or regular Calphalon work great for me. I'm sure copper is great, if that's in your budget...ain't in mine.

          Calphalon used to have this great little brochure about cooking with their pans and how the meat adheres to the pan, and then releases, and then add liquid to the pan for great sauces. That little brochure helped me take a big step up in my cooking. But cast iron is cheap and works great too.

          1. re: scuzzo

            The best roasting pan I have found is the cheap black (enamel-ish-covered metal?) one that came with my oven.

            By the way, I meant to add to the above, I don't sear chicken before roasting. Don't see the point of it. Especially for the OP's purposes: chicken legs will produce lots of fat and good juices that make wonderful gravy.

      2. I'd try it in the oven like the Zuni chicken. You get great fonde and drippings that way. Then use the same pan and make gravy in the pan on the stove after the legs are done.

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4401342

        1. Are we sure we want to oil the pan at all? To be honest, I roasted some fatty chicken thighs with skin on, and the pan pretty much became a non-stick pan when all the fat rendered out of it. I couldn't get any fonde on there! ARGH! I think fat just gets in the way and you want to have the least amount of fat on there as possible.