I make gravy all the time, sometimes with more success than others. This particular attempt turned out quite well, and kept in the fridge for several days, so it seemed right to share it with you-not to mention it only took about 15 minutes, and was very easy to make. Try it on the potato croquettes-so good.
Makes about 1 cup
32 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
1-2 chicken necks Saucy Note: I happened to be smoking two chickens at the same time as this recipe, so the chicken necks were really an effort in not wasting things. One neck will suffice, or use frozen ones that you saved.
1 oz. salted pork belly, cubed Saucy Note: Pork belly is something I always keep on hand, because its cheap, flavorful, and more versatile than bacon. I buy it by the pound, use what I need, and then cube and freeze the rest for future recipes. Throw a cube in simmering soup or use to sauté some vegetables and you’ll soon do the same.
1 bay leaf
¼ cup sherry
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
Set a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add pork belly and cook until the fats start to render. Add chicken necks to fat, skin side down, and sear until deep brown, repeating on each side. Continue stirring the pork belly so it does not burn.
When the chicken is well seared, deglaze the pan with the sherry (please keep hands, face, and any other sensitive exposed bits away from the steam). Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a low boil-reduce it at this temperature. Remove the bay leaf halfway through the reduction.
While the sauce reduces, make a roux. I know the minute a fancy French food word gets thrown out there half of you start running scared, but stick with me. This is easy, and worth mastering. Just make sure you have a couple minutes to give it undivided attention.
Melt the butter in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat-I like to use my 1½ quart enameled cast iron for even heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and begin stirring constantly. The butter will foam initially, and then the two ingredients will begin to form a smooth paste. Continue stirring, being careful not to burn the flour-use your nose and eyes, since smell is one of the easiest ways to judge the character of a roux. Stir slowly but constantly, reducing the heat if the mixture is getting to hot-I usually pick the pot off the stove instead of adjusting the burner, since it gives you quicker, more fluid control. Cook until the mixture takes on a pale golden color and the flour no longer smells raw, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, continuing to stir for a few seconds before setting aside. I’ve found that you can cheat your way to a darker, richer roux if you leave it in the cooled-but-still-hot pan for a few minutes while the gravy finishes reducing. Just be careful its not too hot to burn when you set it aside.
When the liquid in the pan is reduced to about 1 cup, turn off heat and remove solids. Add roux, stirring gently to incorporate. Serve immediately, or cover and set aside to keep warm. I didn’t need to add salt because of the pork belly, but add salt and pepper to taste if necessary.