Why It Pays To Make Gravy Right In The Roasting Pan

There's a reason why gravy is a slang term meaning "something advantageous or valuable that is received or obtained as a benefit beyond what is due or expected" (via Dictionary.com). Gravy is pretty easy to come by and makes everything better, whether it's made with sausage and going over your biscuits or part of a beloved Thanksgiving tradition. The next time you roast a bird or a side of beef, make the gravy right in the roasting pan. It will taste better and save you some work to boot.

The sauce we call gravy likely originated with the French because their word gravé first appeared in Middle English. By the 1800s, brown gravy, béchamel, velouté, tomato, and hollandaise became known as the five "mother sauces" that every cook should master. And today, we're interested in creating brown gravy.

Brown gravy is made with pan drippings thickened with a roux, traditionally a combination of flour and butter. Since your roast will provide the fat, all you'll need to make a brown gravy in the roasting pan is flour, stock, and seasonings.

Making gravy in the pan is effortless and saves you from cleaning a dish

Once your roast has finished cooking, take it out of the oven and plate it. Remove the rack and place the roasting pan on your cooktop over medium heat. Scrape up any fond (delicious browned caramelized bits on the bottom) and whisk in roughly the same amount of flour as there is fat in the pan. Voilà, you have roux. Keep whisking the roux over heat until it darkens to your desired color — generally, a darker roux is paired with more robust dishes like roast beef. You'll want the roux to turn at least a few shades darker to make sure the flour is cooked.

Whisk in stock until you have the consistency you're looking for and season to taste. Salt and black pepper are a must but also consider a pinch of cayenne pepper, dried garlic or onion powder, or minced fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme. Making brown gravy this way is all upside: You've used the flavorful roasted pan drippings instead of plain oil or butter, the pan is large enough to add flour and stock without making a mess, and you've saved yourself a new dish to clean. The rest, as they say, is gravy.