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Lazy Gravy

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)

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You can make the basic version of this gravy (butter, flour, stock) way ahead of time and heat it up just before serving, or trick it out with last-minute extras like pan drippings. Either way, this gravy is guaranteed to be lump-free and delicious.


  1. A few Tbsp. pan drippings from a roasted bird, loin, or other cut of meat (optional)
  2. 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  3. 4 Tbsp. flour
  4. 2 Tbsp. wine, sherry, port, brandy, etc. (optional)
  5. 2 to 4 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, turkey, or beef), warmed in a saucepan
  6. ⅓ cup cream (optional)
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. If using the pan drippings, drain off the clear juices from a freshly roasted bird or cut of meat into a skillet.
  2. In a small bowl, cut together the butter and the flour. With your fingers, mash the mixture together into a smooth paste. This is called beurre manié, and it makes for a lump-free gravy.
  3. Over medium heat, heat the drippings and gradually whisk in the beurre manié until smooth. (If you're not using drippings, heat the butter-flour mixture, stirring, until it starts to melt, then whisk in a bit of stock.) Cook, stirring, for a few minutes to get the raw taste out of the flour.
  4. Add the alcohol, if using, and then gradually add the remaining stock, whisking all the while. (Stop at 2 cups stock and add more later as needed.) Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring constantly, until the gravy has an even consistency and the desired thickness.
  5. Whisk in the cream, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a minute or two more, then either serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate until needed.


If you like, start out with a few tablespoons of minced onion or shallot in the pan. For mushroom sauce, sauté sliced mushrooms with the onion or shallot, then proceed with the gravy recipe; use mushroom stock if available. You can also add fresh minced herbs or a bit of dried herbs, such as parsley or thyme. Read more about Thanksgiving menu planning in "Classic Thanksgiving."