Thanks for that. That will give a good starting place. :) I like the flour gravies but always get lumps, so I usually use the corn starch. But, since I found out that that swiss steak recipe I use makes its own gravy, when I get a craving for the flour type gravy I just make that! lol Sometimes I add quartered potatoes to the pot.
I almost always thicken my gravies with a flour and butter roux in equal parts. The trick is to get the butter melted first and then get all the flour completely mixed with the melted butter before adding the liquid to it, whisking as you do so. No white specks of flour should be left anywhere. As the butter mixture melts into the liquid you are assured a lump free gravy every time. As it was explained to me the butter essentially adheres to every speck of flour so they can’t stick together and form lumps in your gravy.
You must use butter, however, as many margarines or butter substitutes won’t work the same way as butter when combined with the flour.
This same method also works well if you are using the bacon or sausage grease in a pan instead of butter when making biscuits and gravy or something similar. Just make sure the grease and the flour are completely combined before adding the liquid as you stir the mixture with a whisk. The animal fat essentially works just like the butter and melts right into the gravy making it lump free every time.
I have been the designated gravy maker for all our family gatherings ever since my great aunt taught me how to make perfect gravy every time one year at Thanksgiving when I was still in grade school (over 30 years ago).
She was getting older and told me it was time to pass the baton (her whisk) of “official family gravy maker” on to someone in the younger generation. She told me she picked me because she remembered as a small child I loved her gravy so much I would sometimes just pour a ladlefull of her gravy on a piece of white bread, just so I could enjoy her gravy!
For over 30 years now I have never had lumpy gravy as long as I stuck to her method. (We won’t talk about the times when I tried a different method. LOL! Thankfully, I only tried the other methods when I was just cooking something for myself, so it was a small enough batch I could just throw it out.) I knew better than to mess with her perfection when serving others gravy!
Another trick she taught me was to add a bit of coffee to the stock or drippings before thickening it. She said it made the gravy have a richer taste and didn’t change the over all flavor of the gravy. I agree with her that it does give the gravy even better flavor and it doesn’t take much coffee to do so. Just a splash of coffee left over from the morning’s pot of coffee is perfect for the normal pot of gravy. Even when I make huge batch of gravy for a crowd in my large stock pot I add less than a cup of coffee to the drippings and stock.
The only change I have made to her method over the years is that I sometimes use spelt flour instead of white flour to thicken a gravy. (I tried it the first time about 15 years ago when I had to make gravy for someone that was allergic to most types of flour but could use spelt flour.) The spelt flour adds a bit more depth to the flavor and a slightly nutty or meaty flavor to the gravy. It is especially good to use for biscuits and gravy. My family doesn’t like it made with regular flour any more, since it is so much better with the spelt flour.
Spelt flour does not thicken quite as well as regular flour so I use 2 heaping tablespoons of the spelt flour instead of the 2 tablespoons of regular flour for a cup of gravy.