This post is about the “tools” that are necessary to make deliciously smooth gravy. In other words, Lump Free Gravy. You will need to have a few chef’s tools that are specific for this type of cooking adventure – otherwise, you could have a misadventure. When you use these products in coordination with each other, they can produce excellent (and tasty) results.
Here is a list of items that I think you will find most helpful when cooking gravy:
- Wire Strainer (with tight mesh)
- Fat Separator
- Balloon Whisk
- Immersion Hand Blender
The Strainer is very important because it will remove any remaining bits or ingredients left in your stock. I prefer the kind that has a tight mesh, as it will eliminate most of the tidbits on the first go-around. With looser mesh, you might need to strain a few times before you remove everything from the stock. Also, a Strainer with supports on either side will prove to be a great asset when you place it on your bowl, keeping it secure as you pour the stock.
The Fat Separator is just as important, even though it does a completely different job. Since fat rises to the top while lean gravy settles to the bottom, you need a tool to separate the good from the bad. That’s where this tool steps in. You just pour your gravy through the strainer and into the Separator. Once you remove the strainer and stopper, you pour your gravy into a serving vessel. The fat remains in the Separator. I like heat-resistant ones that have a soft grip and come with a shield (for obvious reasons.)
A Balloon Whisk will prove to be your best friend when it comes time to thicken up your gravy to your desired consistency. Without one, you increase your chances of having lumpy gravy. The trick is to keep whisking away, non-stop. The handle should be soft and easy to grip, because you will be using it and applying pressure for a few minutes. The key word here is “comfort”, so buy accordingly.
Finally, the Immersion Hand Blender will prove to be your last line of defense. You might not need to use one at all. However, if you still find that your gravy is a bit lumpy after all your best efforts … don’t despair. An Immersion Hand Blender will be all you need to produce a final result of smooth and beautiful gravy. With just a touch of a button, all lumps will disappear quickly!
One of my most favorite tools is the OXO Good Grips Fat Separator. I have the large 4-cup capacity version. It has a nice shield, which keeps the gravy from spilling over. The strainer is substantial, and really catches all the unwanted bits. The red stopper keeps the fat out of the spout, and is easily washable. The handle is very comfortable, and is non-slip. The Separator has measurement markings for easy viewing. It is dishwasher safe, and BPA-free. I hesitated for a few years before getting one (and collected the fat the old-fashioned way.) However, I am glad I finally purchased one. The whole process is much easier now, a lot less messier, and a real time-saver.
For more information on any of the above products, please see the links below.