Before getting to the Cheesy Chicken Crescent Bake recipe that's been brewing in my computer for a while, I'm going to share what might-be-the-first in what-might-be-a-series of posts on some of Elle's Cooking Basics.
One of the mosts important pieces of my cooking repertoire is my gravy recipe, which I tweaked over the years until I love it. Its title on my recipe card is Good Versatile Gravy, and that pretty much sums it up. I use it in various forms, with various additions, in many of my recipes. Sausage or Bacon Gravy for Biscuits and Gravy, Chicken Pot Pie, Tuna and Rice, Hamburger Mushroom Gravy, etc.
And so, here it is in its most basic form, with a few suggestions for variations at the end.
2/3 c flour
5 cups liquid (what liquid varies according to the use of the gravy)
Begin by melting the butter over medium-high heat.
Mix the flour, salt, pepper together in a bowl and add together.
Stir the flour/butter mixture until combined, then let it cook for a bit. Really. It won't kill it (like I used to think)... it will make it better, and will make the gravy-making process much easier. Let it bubble gently for at least a minute. This is officially called roux.
Then add in your liquid slowly, stirring as you go. Generally, if you let your flour/butter cook long enough, you won't need to whisk it. But if you're not used to making gravy this way (and you're like me when I started), you might want to keep the whisk handy in case it starts to look clumpy. It helps prevent panic.
Once you've gotten your liquid well combined with the flour mixture, keep stirring until the mixture boils, then let it boil (still stirring!) for about a minute. And voila - your Good Gravy is ready!
Suggestions for some variations on the theme:
Saute! I almost always dice up an onion and saute it in the butter before I add flour. Depending on the use for the gravy, I might add other stuff in the saute step... garlic, celery, mushrooms, etc. When I saute, I generally add more butter. Just round it up to a 1/2 cup and you should be good. If it looks dry, add some more.
Spices - whatever suits your fancy. Hopefully your fancy is in alignment with whatever dish you are preparing...
Meat - Ground Beef, Chicken, Tuna... whatever works for you.
Have fun gravying!