Gravy is intimidating to many cooks, especially if it's something they only make for holiday meals. It's easy to make gravy -- it's just liquid thickened with starch -- but doing it well requires a bit more finesse. The flavors should be light and well-balanced, and the gravy should be thick enough to cling to the food without being sticky or stodgy. You can make homemade gravy with nothing more than a simple roux and some whipping cream, or vary the flavor with broth or meat drippings.
Measure equal quantities of flour and a suitable fat, such as butter, cooking oil or drippings from a roast, into a small skillet or saucepan. Heat the pan gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture is a uniform paste with a pale golden color. This is your roux. To thicken 2 cups of gravy, your roux will need 2 to 3 tablespoons each of flour and fat.
Pour 2 cups of cold whipping cream into the pan, whisking vigorously until the roux is thoroughly dissolved into the liquid. Bring the cream to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer
Season the cream gravy lightly with salt and pepper, or other seasonings as desired. Stir it constantly for 8 to 10 minutes, until the roux thickens and gains a smooth, velvety consistency. If any lumps develop, break them up with a fork or whisk and dissolve them into the cream.
Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If it has a noticeably starchy flavor, reduce the heat slightly and let it cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Stir constantly, to prevent the gravy from sticking and scorching. If it becomes too thick, thin it with a small amount of extra cream or milk.
Strain the gravy to remove any remaining lumps, then serve it hot with biscuits, chicken, chicken-fried steak or other comfort foods.