Whether it's a sophisticated wine reduction or simple country-style, a tasty pork gravy adds an extra flavor dimension to chops and roasts. Creating this savory accompaniment is not as daunting a prospect as you may think. Enhance your reputation as a cook by mastering a few simple methods of producing a rich, creamy gravy.
Pan Reduction Gravy
If you have fried your pork chops or another cut in a pan, making gravy is a snap by simply deglazing the pan. Transfer the meat from the pan to a platter and cover with foil to keep it warm. Pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of fat and juices and return the pan to the flame. With a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, scrape up all the crispy bits from the pan and add about a cup of wine, chicken broth or apple cider. Cook the mixture over low to medium heat, stirring constantly. Simmer and stir until the sauce reduces by half and begins to thicken. For a thicker gravy, whisk in a bit of cornstarch.
Country-style milk gravy is ideal for chicken fried pork chops, sauteed medallions or pork tenderloin. It can be made with no additional fat if you separate the drippings from the fat. Over a low flame, heat a cup of drippings in a non-stick pot. In a jar or shaker, combine a couple of tablespoons of sifted flour or instant flour with about a half cup of whole milk and shake it up. Slowly add the mixture to the drippings, stirring constantly. Raise the temperature until the mixture reaches a slow boil and begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and serve it in a gravy boat, just like Grandma used to do.
The Roux Rules
A roux is the base for many French sauces and is a simple one-to-one combination of flour to fat. Most often made with butter, a richer flavor is achieved by by using the fat from your pork roast. To make the roux, heat the fat in a frying pan and then whisk in an equal amount of flour to create a sort of paste. Cook for at least two minutes, whisking constantly, to make sure the flour is cooked through. Gradually whisk in milk, cream or liquid from the pan drippings, keeping the heat very low, until you reach the desired gravy consistency.
Tips and Tricks
If you don't have a fat separator -- and who does? -- extract the meat juices using a heavy duty ziplock bagplastic bag. Pour the contents of the pan into the bag and wait for the fat to rise to the top. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle over a bowl. With scissors, make a small snip in a bottom corner of the bag. Allow the broth to drain from the bag, pinching the corner before the fat follows through. Drain the fat into a separate bowl.
To rescue lumpy gravy, first try whisking it into submission. If that doesn't work, puree it in your food processor or force it through a medium mesh strainer.
Applesauce is not only a traditional companion to pork dishes but can also be used to add flavor and texture to your gravy.