|Tasty Reduced-Fat Gravy
A recipe from the Sneaky Kitchen
reduced-fat or skim milk, water and/or broth
cornstarch or potato starch (optional)
salt or salt substitute
black pepper to taste (optional)
If meat will be fried or sautéed, don't hesitate to add a small amount of olive or other healthier oil. By draining meat well after it's cooked, the oil actually leaches out some of the animal fat & cholesterol, which will be discarded.
Drain off all visible fats, retaining all the browned drippings. For a moderate amount of gravy, place (or retain) about 1 tablespoon of the meat fat in a heavy pan or large skillet. Add about 1 Tbsp of flour. Mix well & place over med. heat, stirring until flour is golden or light brown. Do not over-brown. This browning of the flour gives gravy much of its characteristic & satisfying taste. Meanwhile deglaze the drippings by adding a little water to the pan & heating & scraping until they are dissolved.
When flour is toasted, remove from heat & let it cool. Have milk or water at hand. Add deglazed drippings all at once, stirring to prevent lumping. Add milk (or water) to make about the amount of gravy you want. Return to fire & cook, stirring constantly until gravy comes to a boil.
Continue to cook, stirring frequently, while you mix some flour (or starch) into 1/2 C. or so of liquid (use blender or food processor for flour). Pour little by little into boiling gravy, until it is about the right thickness. If using milk, continue to boil. As it gets too thick, add more milk. This increases the milk solids as the water evaporates, raising both the calcium & flavor.
If you don't use milk, flavor can be increased by adding Kitchen Bouquet and/or soup base in the appropriate flavor (beef for beef gravy, chicken for chicken, etc). Extra flavor means you use less salt & still have a satisfying gravy. Adding a little black pepper also enhances the flavor.
After gravy is finished, add just enough salt or salt substitute to give it the taste you want. If meat was salted before cooking, very little or no added salt may be needed. Taste first! This gravy does contains fat used to toast the flour plus whatever is in the drippings, but has a lot less than regular gravy. If you're eating meat (which contains fat & cholesterol), there's no point balking at a small bit more in this gravy.