So you've left your roast in the oven now for three full hours, on 300, and haven't peeked, right? RIGHT?? If you've done everything right, here is what you should be staring at when you finally DO get to take a peek.
Come to mama...
What you see there is several inches of beefy, fatty, dark, rich, FLAVOR. That's the base for our gravy. Take a turkey baster and take out the majority of that delicious nectar, and stick it in the fridge. And get your mind out of the gutter. This is a family food blog not a seedy romance novel.
Do you see the fat on the top, floating up already? That fat, very soon, is going to be the roux for our gravy. I have made a LOT of gravy in my almost 29 years, but none better than when I discovered doing the majority of the roux in the beef fat. Kill me now.
I took out a couple of cups, at least, to set aside. If you don't do this, sometimes the yummy goodness can cook into the meat and veggies, and evaporate, or something, but the longer you cook it the less there is and I love this stuff. I'm not sure how technically sound this particular step is, but its what I do, and it works, so why not?
In another one and a half to two hours, here is what will be staring you in the face begging you to eat it.
I didn't quite get to it in time to take the pictures before my starving boy children and equally starving husband dug in, right after making fun of me for scrambling for my camera. I think he had a hard time keeping a straight face as I was telling him food blogging is ALL about the pictures. He is not a blogger, or a fan of bloggers. I'm not even sure if he knows exactly what the blogging is all about.
My plate. Thank you Jesus for food, and good food, and the ability to cook and eat said good food.
Oh, now back to that gravy. During the gravy portion things were a little crazy. Jeremiah was mashing potatoes. Kids were clanging silverware on the table. Babies were running around screeching. I didn't get any pictures of the actual process, so I will do my best to describe it to you.
Take your refrigerated beef stock out of the fridge (WHY does fridge have a 'd', but refrigerated does not??? Am I crazy? Did my spellchecker fail me??). Scrape off the layer of fat that has semi-hardened and put it in a small, itty, bitty, fry pan. I use a little tiny cast iron skillet. Its about 4" across I think. If I didn't have this to use I'd probably use my smallest sauce pan. Anyway, back to the roux.
Take your roast out of the oven also and get all of the fat you can out of the bottom of your roaster. I had all fat at the bottom of mine, so I just got out the turkey baster again and took it out. If you have liquid still, it will be harder, but the labor of love is worth it. Warning though...make SURE you are only getting fat. This roux will not work if its contaminated with regular liquid.
Take all that fat, (I ended up with about 1/4 cup? Maybe a little less?) put it in your itty-bitty-teeny-tiny cast-iron skillet, heat on medium, and stir in with a fork several TBSP of flour. Stir in as much as you can before it gets paste-like. You don't want it too thick. If you go a little overboard, you can thin it down again with a bit of butter. Cook this, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes.
You've since removed your roast from the pan along with the carrots and onions and have covered it with foil to keep it warm. Put the roaster on the stove, and dump the beef stock that you reserved earlier in, as well as several cups of potato water (the water left from boiling the mashed potatoes. Best stuff EVAH for gravy making.). I also toss in a few tsp of Better Than Bouillon Beef Base if I think it needs it. Bring this all up to a boil, and whisk it frequently making sure to loosen any stuck on bits from the bottom of the pan.
While whisking, SLOWLY drizzle (or glop, depending on the consistency of your roux) the roux in. Cook for 2 minutes, boiling. If gravy needs to be thicker, mix a few more TBSP of flour with COLD water until there are no more lumps and slowly drizzle in to the boiling gravy while whisking. Whether or not you will need extra thickening depends on a couple of different factors. 1. How much fat you rescued from the roast 2. How much gravy you are making. Play it by ear, or eye, rather, and salt the gravy to taste.
We made mashed potatoes with this as well, using russet potatoes, cream cheese, butter, cream, salt, and garlic powder. Good stuff. No pictures. Jeremiah is my designated potato masher. Served with corn too!
Phew, that was a lot of typing. I made homemade bread to go with this as well, but failed at the picture taking after the dough was mixed, so I'll save that for another day, another post. Until then, enjoy! And please feel free to send me your requests for recipes. I have my own version of a wide variety of meals, and I'd love ideas from you guys!