A pot roast without gravy is... well, you get the drift. You can’t have one without the other if you want your meal to be successful and memorable. And those drippings in the bottom of the pan, leftovers from the long, slow cooking of the roast just stare up at you, challenging you to do something with them. Gravy is the natural answer to those brown bits, and your choice is whether to make it with cornstarch or flour. The task isn’t difficult, but it does require your attention at every step unless you wants bits of flour separated from your bits of brown, each doing its own thing. Horrors!
The End of the Roast
Your roast is done. The meat is falling off the bone, the vegetables are crispy on the outside and tender in the center, and the aromas filling your house are teasing. But you’re not finished yet. You need gravy to go with your roast and for your diners to sop up with the homemade biscuits you’ve just made.
Start by taking the roast very carefully out of the Dutch oven or roasting pan. Place it on a wooden cutting board that has a trench running along all the edges to catch the juices. Also remove any vegetables you may have added to the roasting pan. Leave the roast alone for at least 15 minutes while you make the gravy.
Roasting Bag Gravy
A pot roast cooked in a roasting bag yields lots of good juice for gravy. Cut the bag open, remove the roast and pour the juice into a saucepan. You won’t have those delicious drippings that you’d get if you’d used a roasting pan, but you won’t have the mess either. Use either flour or cornstarch to make your gravy.
Gravy With Flour
Flour has long been a staple in gravy-making. It thickens the juices, it doesn’t impart any taste ‒ and then there are those brown bits. Scrape them with a wooden spoon or stainless spatula. When you have them all up from the bottom of the pan, strain what is left in the pan before continuing. Return the pan to medium heat.
- Remove 1 cup of juice from the roasting pan and put into a heat-resistant glass. If you don’t have enough juice, use a little beef broth.
- Mix in 2 tablespoons of flour.
- Whisk thoroughly or use a fork until the two are completely blended. You’ve created what some call a “slurry.” Slurries are often used to thicken soup, but they also work well to make gravy.
- Add the slurry to the pot and stir as it thickens.
- Once it’s at the thickness you like, add a lump of butter. This gives the gravy an inviting glaze.
Using Cornstarch for Gravy
The gluten-free properties of cornstarch make it an ideal solution for making gravy. Use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1 cup of roasting juices or beef broth, and whisk until the solution has completely blended to make a base for a tasty gravy. Go easy on the cornstarch as it can impart its own flavor into the gravy. Don’t overmix.
Getting Creative With Gravy
If neither flour nor cornstarch are available or desirable, you can always mash up the vegetables from the roasting pan until they’re almost puréed. Add them back into the pot and mix completely. Reduce the mixture down and watch as the vegetables create a thickness resembling gravy. Your final taste may be more of vegetables than of beef. Add a chunk of butter at the end for a final glaze for your roast.