How to make Gravy
Au jus, pan jus or sauce
The names may sound intimidating, but they are all just plain gravy in the end.
They are easy to make and once you know the basics, you will wonder whatever held you back.
Step by Step
Start with roast drippings – it’s what is left in the bottom of your pan after the roast is cooked. If you don’t have much, don’t worry – concentrated drippings are more flavourful.
Drain off fat – with lean beef roasts you may not have much.
Heat drippings in the roasting pan over medium-high heat, gradually stirring in 2 cups (500 mL) beef broth (or a beef/red wine mix), stirring up any browned bits from bottom of pan.
Thicken. There are 3 ways to do it:
- Cook down the liquid, letting it concentrate by evaporating (a Pan Jus or Au Jus),
- OR use flour or cornstarch (Classic Gravy) – see details below.
Season to taste. Add salt and pepper and/or a splash of cream, wine or vinegar. Taste as you go. Serve as is for a rustic version but strain if you want a silky smooth sauce.
Pan Jus: Just heat to simmer and stir occasionally with the lid off until the liquid reduces to desired thickness.
Classic Gravy: Combine stir together equal amounts of flour & soft butter, OR cornstarch & cold water, making smooth mixtures. Gradually stir bits of the mixtures into simmering sauce; bring to boil, stirring until thickened (Note: 1 tbsp/15 mL cornstarch or flour thickens 2 cups/500 mL liquid.).
Mixed Peppercorn Wine Sauce:
- Drain off all but 2 tbsp (30 mL) fat from pan. Heat roast drippings in roasting pan over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour; cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
- Gradually stir in 1 cup (250 mL) EACH low-sodium beef broth and red wine or Madeira and 2 tsp (10 mL) cracked mixed peppercorns.
- Cook, stirring up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Whisk until sauce boils and thickens, about 4 minutes.
Chef-it-up Gravy Tips – Try out one of our tips below for a gourmet touch.
TIP 1: Substitute 1/2 cup (125 mL) of beef broth with red wine. Before adding broth to pan, pour in wine, stirring and scraping up any brown bits (as above). Cook over high heat to reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Add 1-1/2 cups beef broth and finish as above.
TIP 2: Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary to beef broth while simmering. No need to chop the herbs as the leaves will fall off the stem as the gravy cooks. Remove stems before serving.
TIP 3: Add 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter to the completed gravy to add rich flavour.