Hello all. I had guests for a dinner of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy... simple fair.
One guest complimented the gravy and asked if I used corn starch. Does anyone use corn starch to make gravy? weird...but what do I know. We talked at some length about gravy making and he told me his mother "fried" the flour in the left over chicken grease.
Has anyone ever fried your gravy? what advantage does it hold?
Me I just let the roast chicken drippings cool down some, blend in some flour with a whisk, get the mixture a little hot and slowly blend in milk. Maybe that is fried? What am I missing here?
2nd the "fried" gravy. Always had it made that way growing up - what I understand now is that it is to "toast" the flour so that there's not that raw flour taste or maybe to incorporate it and keep it from clumping.
If you use cornstarch you don't have to cook the raw flour taste out of the gravy before you can eat it. It's a shortcut. (My mother taught me to use cornstarch to make gravy, custard etc.)
As Uncle Bob pointed out, what you refer to as "fried" describes the making of a roux. The flour is browned in the drippings to cook it to remove the raw flour taste, and to brown it to add color to the gravy. Cooking the flour in the pan drippings before adding broth or milk make for a more richly flavored, more complex sauce.
Cornstarch, by the way, makes an adequate thickener, but it results in a more gelatinous, clear sauce. If it is cooked for too long the starch will break down and lose its thickening power.
All interesting and enlightening... thanks.
I don't think I would ever use corn starch for a gravy. It makes it look funny and doesn't have the same taste. And besides I don't need the instant emulsifying utility of corn starch since I think I have become good at mixing flower into whatever without it lumping. I remember watching Emril say, "let your drippings cool before adding flour otherwise you gonna make a bunch of lil dumplins".
So I always use flower.
I think my guest wasn't really talking about frying.. maybe like me she just mixes it and cooks it until bubbly and the raw flour taste has subsided and then slowly adds back the broth, grease, or milk. She just called it frying. I think frying is what is explained above.
As far as color, I never browned the flour to make color. When roasting I usually put a cut up onion and carrot in the bottom of the pan and they caramelize. It makes the chicken drippings naturally brown. My roast chicken gravy is always a little brown... even with milk gravy.