Correcting pan gravy

I’m horrible at making pan gravy, from drippings. Tonight, I tried to correct my roast goose gravy (drippings, a bit of goose fat, flour, water) with added dried thyme, a bay leaf, some Madeira, some pepper, some chopped celery (I’m out of carrots), more water . The gravy tastes less goose-y now, but I’m not sure it tastes good.

What else should I or could I try? It doesn’t need chicken stock since it has a distinct goose flavor already. Thanks for any ideas.

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In my experience it is very difficult to make good gravy from drippings alone - they usually contain too much fat and not enough liquid. You are much better off separating the fat from any liquid drippings, making a roux with some of the fat, then adding the liquid drippings along with an appropriate quantity of stock. Not knowing what is wrong with your gravy makes it hard to suggest a specific fix, but I wouldn’t shy away from chicken stock - it should support the goose flavor rather than overwhelm it.


I think the second addition of water made it less goosey. Chicken stock should balance it out. And there’s always more salt and pepper. Sometimes it’s the little things.


I don’t know what’s missing, and whatever I was adding helped a bit, but didn’t make a gravy I’d want on my potato dumplings.

I had taken the drippings from the pan, separated the fat, fried the drippings in a saucepan, added flour to make a roux (not long enough), then added more water, more herbs, etc.

I’ll try some stock next time.

Mrs H and I were both taught to make gravy by my mother. It’s a simple as anything version which, in my view, is not improved by enhancements. Roasting pan juices (some of the fat removed), flour to make a roux, addition of water, seasoning, occasional addition of a splash of wine (Mum would never have added wine).


It’s pretty clear that we have consensus that you have too much fat. grin I agree. I’ll contribute that adding water dilutes the base (in this case goose) but doesn’t really change anything. An alternative (like chicken stock) can provide balance and offset.

Strongly agree with the advice to separate the fats from the other drippings and deal with them separately.


I think I probably needed to roast the pan juices more. Thanks, Harters.
I had removed 3 cups of fat, left a couple tbsp of fat to make a roux with a couple tbsp of butter.

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When dealing with a fowl stronger than chicken, i.e., duck or goose, if you have no stock from that bird, I’m not above tossing is a combo of chicken and veal stock.


Thanks @pilgrim

I don’t remove any fat when making stock or gravy until it is finished and chilled. Then I scrape off and save the now-seasoned fat, which is priceless for frying potatoes. Warm up what remains and adjust seasoning or add stock if necessary.


Great idea @greygarious!

Why would you want to “roast” the pan juice more than they already are? Since it’s not broth or stock made by cooking meant and bones in water, it should be plenty flavorful on its own, and I think cooking them in any way (except gentle simmering) after the bird is done could only dull the flavor, like overcooking any broth or stock…

I’d try just making a lightly browned roux with the (separated) fat, then using the drippings and some wine for the bulk of of the liquid for the gravy, adding only as much water (or imo better still, a light chicken broth) as needed to get it to the consistency you prefer. Water only dilutes whatever flavor you’re getting from the other ingredients, so I use it as sparingly as possible when making pan gravy…

Which isn’t practical when you’re trying to make gravy for the entree that just came out of the oven and is resting with dinner planned to be on the table in 20 minutes. For poultry like goose or duck there is simply too much fat in the drippings for good gravy, which leads us to density-based fat separators.

Putting the saucepan into an ice bath works quickly for me, but I guess it depends on your pan, and the volume of liquid.

@mikeG Because I had slow roasted the goose at 250 for 6 h, and the drippings were not crispy. They were more braised if that makes sense. My gravy was pale.

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Putting the saucepan into an ice bath works quickly for me, but I guess it depends on your pan, and the volume of liquid.

Ah. Well I guess “quickly” is relative. I’m often cooking in places where ice is not readily available so ice baths tend not to be something that comes to mind. At sea I don’t have ice. At home I make pan gravy in the roasting pan which would mean a LOT of ice in our main sink or getting another pan dirty.

I think (no footnotes) that for most people density separation (aka a fat separator) is more realistic than an ice bath, particularly since you can recover most of the heat from the pan drippings in the process.

I keep two 1 qt fat separators for just those times where there are a lot of drippings to handle.

re “pale gravy”, I also always keep a bottle of “Gravy Master” for just those times. It provides no flavor, just color. A teaspoon is usually enough to “de-blond” a sauce.


Hmm. I think of “drippings” as being the liquid - basically, the true “jus” or “natural stock” - that collects in the bottom of the pan, so I guess we’re thinking of different things?

It was the liquid , but I guess I think of drippings for a good gravy being more roasted and browned than what I poured and scraped from the pan.

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Cooking the flour longer in the fat until it was browned would have helped with the color. Or a drop or two of dark soy sauce - helps with that umami flavor too. I don’t add wine, veggies or anything like that to gravy. It’s just fat, flour, strained drippings or broth, salt and pepper.


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