Jess’s Easy Peasy No-Funky-Stuff Chili

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People are always asking me for my chili recipe. Wanna know my secret? I don’t have one. The chili I make has no recipe and turns out a little different everytime I make it. Just like my gravy, it is a new experience every time…and I like it that way.

When I’m sick, it is hotter (because I believe in the “burn it out” method particularly with sore throats). When I am well, it is less hot, but more garlicky. When the Army sees fit to send me to some God-forsaken place without an Aldi grocery store, my chili suffers until I make a stock-up trip to wherever does have an Aldi (because no other brand will do, seriously). When I am sans hubby, it includes diced green chiles and jalapenos and real tomatoes. But alas, my husband, like so many picky family members out there, doesn’t like tomatoes or chunks of anything in his chili.

I like a bit more flavor in my food. Under no circumstances; however, will you ever find peanut butter, coffee, mustard, ketchup, beer, or cinnamon in my chili. This is very basic, home-cook-style version of a quick chili to warm your family’s bellies on a cold winter’s night…no funky stuff allowed! (Of course if you are into the funky stuff, adjust and make it your own, that is what cooking is all about, but for the rest of us…we’ll keep it simple.)

If left to his own devices, the man will make “chili” with ground beef and ketchup. I kid you not…ketchup. So even my milder batches of chili that I make chunk-free just for him are sometimes a bit too spicy for him. He has taken to chugging large glasses of milk and toning it down with crackers, but at least he stopped the whining. ūüėČ

So here it is, my slightly- wussified no-funky-stuff chili “recipe”. Perhaps you too have a family full of picky eaters who recoil at the idea of onions and veggies in their chili, but you are too proud to serve ketchup-y hamburger and call it chili. If that person is you, here is the solution.

Crumble 2 lbs ground beef into a skillet (or if you are lazy like me, into a big pot that you will later use to cook the chili in).
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Brown and season the ground beef. I like to season it with what I consider the basics + chili powder. That would be salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder. Do not skip seasoning the ground beef or you will have trouble getting depth of flavor in your chili.
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Once the hamburger is browned, drain in a colander and return to the pot. Add 1 small can of tomato sauce. This is how I get tomato flavor into it without using diced tomatoes which my husband would painfully pick out of every. single. bowl.
You may also add 3 cans of Dakota brand chili beans (from Aldi). Some people might say that is too many beans per ground beef…and they would be right, if we were putting other funky stuff in our chili, but we’re not, so go with it.
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Stir to combine and be sure your burner is turned to med-high heat. Add a can or so of water. It will not be a pretty color at this point.
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Now it is time to spice things up a bit! I have no measurements for the spices I use, but I will list them in the order of those I use the most of to those I use the least of in this recipe. The picture also shows them in this order to give you an idea of how much to try of each visually.

Chili Powder
Onion powder (remember you are entirely replacing onions with this)
Garlic powder (you can use fresh or minced if you’d like)
Chile Pequin (also known as crushed red peppers)
Ground Cayenne

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Stir. Your chili should look like chili now, with a deep brick color.
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Once your chili is simmering, you can reduce the heat to medium, stirring occasionally, and continue to simmer for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on your patience level. I recommend tasting your chili at this point and adjusting your spices as needed to fit your tastes. The chili will begin to thicken up a bit with time till it looks more like this:
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Note: The pic above is after 15 minutes of simmering. Longer will truly thicken your chili as the liquid evaporates the longer it cooks.

Ladle into bowls and serve with crackers or cornbread, depending on your style. Or for my favorite application, layer chili in a bowl with shredded cheddar cheese, Fritos, and a dollop of sour cream and enjoy your homemade Frito Pie. Yum!
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Jess’s Pizza Pull-Apart Bread

PhotobucketIt isn’t too often that I come across a new recipe that I fall in love with, but recently I’ve been hitting the recipe jackpot. These are amazing! I’ve changed the recipe to make it my own, so here we go.

Jess’s Pull-Apart Pizza Bread

1/2 recipe Jay’s Pizza Crust dough
mozzarella cheese, about 20 cubed pieces
sliced pepperoni

For topping:
olive oil
Italian seasoning

garlic salt
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan. Divide the pizza dough into roughly 20 equal sized pieces. Take one of the dough pieces and press in a cube of cheese and two slices of pepperoni. Pull the edges of the dough down around the filling and seal. Place in the pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough. Each piece of dough should be touching each other in the pan. (It may seem crowded, but will be fine.)

Lightly brush the tops of the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle on seasoning mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature, with dipping sauce if desired.

It should go a little something like this…

Cheese in pepperoni in dough:

Sealed around filling:

Pushed together nicely in the greased pan:

Brushed with olive oil:

Sprinkled with spices:

Fresh outta the oven:

Try these as an appetizer or a snack…either way, your family will be thanking you!

Published in: on November 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potato fries. Especially when they are paired with a good dip and are actually crispy. I’ve had trouble making my sweet potato fries crispy in the past, though. Until I found this method, that is!

It’s really simple, but a couple extra steps and it makes all the difference!

You’ll need:

1 large sweet potato

2 TBL olive oil

2 TBL cornstarch

Oil for frying

Sea salt to taste


That’s it, so let’s get started!

Peel your sweet potato and cut into 1/2 fries.


Then put 2 TBL cornstarch in a large bag along with the fries and shake, shake, shake till the fries are coated in the cornstarch.

Next, put 2 TBL of olive oil in a bowl or on a cookie sheet and coat the fries in the oil as well.

Preheat deep fryer or bring a large heavy pot of oil to 375 degrees. Once at temp, place fries in oil (carefully):

After 7 minutes, they should look kinda like this:

Quickly upon removing fries from oil, sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt and toss to coat evenly on a paper towel-lined platter.

All done! Now wasn’t that easy? These were the best, crispest sweet potato fries I’ve ever had and I hope you enjoy them as well. I served mine with french dip sammies. I’ll be making the french dips again and blogging that super easy recipe soon. They were so delcious!

Published in: on September 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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Amazing Ranch Dressing Recipe and Pinterest

I have a new obsession with Pinterest. If you don’t know what Pinterest is, you’re living in the dark ages and probably still have a myspace page that you update regularly. Seriously, folks, get with the program! Pinterest is a website that allows you to basically “bookmark” things you see online that you like, but you bookmark with PICTURES and a link to the website page you found it on.

It is incredibly useful to keep and organize all those websites you used to “favorite” or “bookmark” and forget about. By saving each link with a picture of what inspired you, it’s much easier to remember why you fell in love with the page/recipe/idea in the first place and I find myself actually trying recipes that might’ve otherwise been long-forgotten in my favorites folder before the age of Pinterest.

This incredible ranch dressing recipe is one such little nugget of awesomeness that I remembered to make tonight after pinning it awhile back. The original blog post that inspired me can be found here. It is beyond amazing and reminds me of the ranch dressing found at Gatti’s Pizza (which is a personal addiction of mine, I might add. I go there JUST for the ranch dressing. I wish I was kidding.)

So without further ado, here’s the ranch dressing recipe that I fell in love with tonight. I will never ever be able to buy ranch dressing again. Not even from a packet. As with most items, from-scratch is almost incomparably better. You. Must. Try. This. You will not be disappointed!

Annie’s Ranch Dressing

¬ĺ cup mayonnaise
¬ĺ cup sour cream
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
1 small bunch chives
Small handful parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
¬Ĺ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food
processor starting with ¬ľ cup of the buttermilk and blend for 10 seconds.¬† Check
the consistency and taste and blend in additional buttermilk as desired.  Taste
and adjust seasonings as necessary. Dressing will be thin, but tasty! Store in an airtight container in the
refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Homemade Fried Chicken…it’s not as scary as it sounds (Part Two Frying)


Now that we’ve addressed the brining aspect, I’ll show you how I bread, fry, and bake my chicken. Yep, you read it right, I fry then bake it! This alleviates a common concern for many home cooks which is whether or not they’ve cooked the chicken enough. It also serves another purpose in that the way we bake it allows for the grease to drip off and you end up with crispy NOT greasy chicken…but still with all the flavor of fried chicken! So let’s get started.

For this you’ll need one whole cut-up chicken with the bone-in (preferably already brined as in Part One), about 2 cups flour, salt and pepper, oil/shortening, and approximately 2 cups buttermilk. Just like your grandma used to do it. I’ve tried adding other seasonings in and we just didn’t like it…so maybe grandmas all over the world had it right the first time. Simple is sometimes best!

Put your buttermilk in one container (a bowl, pie tin, or shallow dish works nicely) and heavily salt and pepper it:

Do the same with your flour…lots and lots of salt and pepper and mix together with a fork or whisk in a shallow bowl or pie plate!

Next you’ll need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and¬†put a metal cooling rack inside of a sheet pan. This is where you’ll put the chicken when it is done being breaded before it goes into the frying pan.

Also begin preheating your oil in a deep skillet or pan. You’ll need at least an inch or so deep of vegetable, canola, or peanut oil…or Crisco vegetable shortening, whichever you prefer. You want the oil to reach at least halfway up the sides of the chicken while frying to get an even browning effect. I usually turn my burner to a 6 or just above the medium heat setting at this point. The oil will preheat while you bread your chicken for frying.

The order you bread in is extremely important so we start with a thin flour coat. Dip one chicken piece at a time in flour mixture, turning to coat evenly.

Take the lightly floured piece of chicken and move it to the buttermilk dish, coating completely in buttermilk.

From the buttermilk, back to the flour for the final flour coating.

Once your chicken is fully coated in the 2nd layer of flour mixture, you are done with it and you may move the chicken to the cooling rack inside the sheet pan until you have repeated the process with the rest of the chicken pieces.

Next it’s into the frying pan for your little chicken. You can take one droplet of water and drop into the pan of oil to test if the oil is hot enough. If it is, the water will pop and sizzle, if not, it will just kinda sit there with no reaction. The temperature of the oil is very important and is not to be rushed. Putting fried items into oil that is not yet up to temperature will result in soggy, icky fried items. Never underestimate the power of a properly temped cooking device!

So, into the oil your chicken goes. Carefully place the chicken in. Do not throw or drop the chicken or you could end up with a nasty hot oil splash. Slowly and carefully, place your chicken in the pan of hot oil. Do NOT move the chicken once it is in the oil, you’ll lose breading if it is moved before the breading has crisped up properly.

It should look a little like this…see how the oil is bubbling up the sides of the chicken? That’s what you want to see:

Leave chicken on the first side for 5-6 minutes, then flip ONCE. Constantly flipping fried items is another big mistake many new fry cooks make. You’ll never get to golden brown and delicious if you flip more than once. So turn the chicken and fry for another 4-6 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the 2nd side.

Remember that cooling rack in the sheet pan from earlier? Now’s the time to grab that. Place the fried chicken on the cooling rack in the sheet pan and pop in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes while you finish up the other details of your dinner.


Take the chicken out of the oven and serve to a delighted audience! Check out the incredibly moist delicious chicken breast, here. See that glistening? That’s juicy wonderfulness and FLAVOR. It’s definitely worth your time to give chicken frying another chance!

Homemade Fried Chicken…it’s not as scary as it sounds! (Part One-Brining)

I know everyone likes to think that frying your own chicken at home is some incredibly daunting task only to be performed by the most amazing cooks…but it’s not. I admit it can be a litle scary wondering if you’ve cooked your chicken thoroughly by the time the crust is golden brown, but if you follow a few easy steps, you too can be a master of homemade fried chicken that looks as lovely as this:

The first step for making fried chicken that is juicy and flavorful begins with the brine. A couple of hours of brining will allow your chicken to remain moist despite the extreme temperatures of frying and will allow the chicken to cook more quickly as well.

Brine Recipe:

Dry Brine Ingredients:
It should also be noted that the salt to water ratio needs to remain the same, but everything else can be added, deleted, or substituted as they are just for imparting flavor to the chiken while brining.

Combine ingredients for the brine in a large pot/bucket/ice chest. You will also need ice packs to keep the brine at a safe temperature for a couple of hours during the brining process. Place your rinsed chicken pieces (I buy whole cut-up chickens for this dinner. They should weigh around 6 lbs and have the bone-in.)

The chicken pieces will likely want to float somewhat and look something like this:

This is where you use ice packs (or another food-safe heavy item) to push the chicken pieces below the surface. It might look something like this:

Now put your brining chicken in the fridge or add ice if you haven’t used ice packs. It’s super important to keep your chicken at a safe cool temperature for the next 2 hours.

Another note, once the chicken has finished brining, dump the brine. Do NOT reuse it. And be careful to wash everything that has touched the chicken or brine very well. Raw poultry can harbor food-borne illnesses, so it’s very important to properly cleanse anything that has come in contact with it.

Many people want to know if they can skip the brining part and the official answer is yes, you can. But once you’ve had brined chicken and un-brined chicken, you’ll never want to skip this step again, it’s absolutely worth the effort.

Now on to part two-the actual frying of the chicken.

Published in: on September 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm  Comments (2)  
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He’s back, I’m back, and we’re hungry!

Most of you have noticed that it’s been a really long time since I updated here. That may’ve had something to do with Army Dude (aka my husband) taking a nice little year-long vacation to Sunny Iraq. He’s back now (yay!) and so am I…because I just don’t cook much at all while he’s away. After a year of having Dominos on speed dial, I’ve ventured back into the kitchen and thought I would share my excitement with you by getting my bahootie back to blogging!

One of the first breakfasts I made for Army Dude was some French Toast. French toast is usually pretty simple and most people know how to make one version or another. But this french toast is the kind you crave at midnight…it’s just that good.

First, gather your ingredients. You’ll need the following:

1 cup half-and-half

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons sweetened french vanilla coffee creamer (other flavors work, too, or warm honey can be substituted)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 (1/2-inch) slices of challah, brioche, or french bread, stale

4 tablespoons butter

The night before, whisk together the first 5 ingredients to make your custard.

Put custard in the fridge and set bread slices out on cooling racks to dry up overnight (4-8 hours).

The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour custard into a shallow dish (a pie pan works nicely). Prep a large cookie sheet/jelly roll pan by putting an oven-safe cooling rack inside of it.

Dip the bread slices, one at a time, in the custard mixture and let soak for 30 seconds on each side.

Once soaked on both sides, remove the slices from the custard and place on the cooling rack in the cookie sheet pan to allow excess to drip off. Let sit for 1-2 minutes.

Butter a large skillet or griddle on medium-high heat. Place bread slices in skillet and cook until lightly golden brown, flipping only once. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side. Once browned, put the toast back onto the cooling rack inside the sheet pan and pop into the oven for 5-7 minutes.

Serve immediately or turn off the heat in the oven and let them stay warm while you finish the rest of breakfast. Serve with butter, maple or fruit syrup, and powdered sugar. Yum!


Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jess’s Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Who doesn’t love a Reese’s peanut butter cup? Pretty much everyone enjoys peanut butter cups, and they are not that difficult to make at home! I’ve adapted this recipe to my tastes, and I think it is one everyone will enjoy…so let’s get started:

Jess’s Peanut Butter Cups

1 cup butter or margarine, melted   

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (graham crackers work, too)

2 cups confectioners’ sugar¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

1 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

4 tablespoons peanut butter

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, vanilla wafer crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.

In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares

OR if you want shaped peanut butter cups, make the filling and melt the chocolate as above, then spray some Pam into candy molds, silicone bakeware, or if you’re desperate, mini muffin tins. You can do this the easy way or the hard way…

Easy way: Put a tablespoon or so of filling in each cavity, smash down with your (clean) fingers until they are relatively flat, and pour chocolate over the filling to fill each cavity. Smooth chocolate with back of spoon if necessary. Put in the freezer for about 5 minutes to harden the chocolate, then unmold.

Hard way: Put a small amount of melted chocolate in the bottom of the cavity, and with a (clean) paintbrush, brush the chocolate up the sides of the mold. Put in freezer for a few minutes, then take the candy mold out of the freezer, fill cavities 2/3 full of peanut butter filling, pushing down as before. Then pour chocolate over the top of the filling to completely fill the mold. Smooth chocolate with back of spoon if necessary. Put in freezer for about 5 minutes, then unmold.


I find that these are really easy, always a hit at parties and bake sales, and pretty fun to make…so give homemade peanut butter cups a try! Also, I like a little crunch in my peanut butter cup, which makes the vanilla wafers perfect for this, but if you prefer a smoother peanut butter filling, simply substitute an equal amount of graham crackers for the vanilla wafers and you are good to go! Also, these refrigerate and freeze well, so don’t worry if you make too many! As you can see from the heart-shaped peanut butter cup above, these make a fabulous and easy Valentine’s Day Dessert or Treat for your Sweet!


I’m FINALLY back to blogging, folks!

Sorry for the delay, but those who know me were aware that we were moving and I’m still trying to get settled. A few days after moving into our new home, we got our first houseguest, so life’s been crazy. I did want to check in and let you all know I haven’t forgotten about you and that I’ll be back to seriously blogging, soon. In the meantime, here’s a pic of a salad I made the other day…see how easy it is to make something look amazing? This is a bagged salad mix, sliced cucumbers, cheese, bacon bits, and tomatoes. An easy salad made to look “fancy” simply by taking a minute or two to arrange the ingredients in lines. It’s so orderly and appealing to the eye, but so simple…so try your hand at making something simple look fabulous this week!


Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 6:57 pm  Comments (7)  
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How to make a brown gravy, Jessica-style!

I’m sure there a thousand “how to make homemade gravy” posts circling the web, but here’s mine. This is to make a clear-ish brown gravy from any kind of non-breaded meat, such as turkey, chicken, pork or beef roast, basically anything that makes juices while cooking. I should add that it’s really hard to take pictures in your lefthand while making something like gravy with your right, my apologies for the bad pictures. Also, everyone has a different opinion on what the right kind thickening agent to add to non-cream gravies should be. I use cornstarch. It’s cheap, has multiple uses in the kitchen, and produces a clear, properly thickened gravy without dampening the flavor of the juices used to produce the gravy. It works for me,¬† but if you use another method…now is not the time to start sending me hate-mail, k? *smile*

This gravy was made with the juices from a turkey breast. Some people strain the juices to get rid of any bits leftover from the pan…I don’t. If you want to, feel free, I’m just too lazy.

The juices in a skillet (one with sides is important for something liquid-y like gravy). There’s probably about a cup of juices here:

Since this was a turkey gravy, I used chicken broth. You can use turkey broth, I just don’t keep turkey broth on hand, so I tend to go with chicken broth. If making a chicken gravy, go with chicken broth, for any other meat, use beef broth or a veggie broth. If you don’t have broth on hand, you can use boullion cubes and water to make your own, just follow pkg instructions. Here’s about 4 cups of broth (this is to make LOTS of gravy for something big like Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd:

Pour the broth in the skillet with the juices, and turn skillet on medium heat:

While that is heating, we’re going to make a cornstarch slurry. I don’t ever measure my cornstarch, but I put what I thought I’d use in a measuring cup so you could see how much I used. It was a little more than I really needed. The important thing to realize about cornstarch is that each container can have different amounts of thickening power. I’ve had cornstarch boxes that it only took a couple tablespoons to thicken a gravy or sauce and other boxes that it seemingly took 1/2 a box to get to the thickness that I want. You can start by using the instructions on the box of cornstarch for thickening sauces and gravy and work up to the thickness you actually want. I always end up using more cornstarch than the box calls for to get to the thickness that I want. Anyway, start with the cornstarch in a small cup or measuring vessel. I had a little less than 1/2 cup of cornstarch here:

Next, add a little bit of COLD water to the cornstarch. Yes, cold is important-warm water will make this glue-like flour-and-water kind of mixture which is not what you’re going for. Start by adding a couple tablespoons of water and try to stir. Keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time, until you are able to get the mixture to look like thick cream. Here it is just after I’ve added the water:

Next, get out a fork and use it to stir the mixture. It will be MEGA hard to stir at first, but have faith and keep trying. Unless you have been stirring for a while and it still looks like a flour-y mess, don’t add water. If it does look like that, you can add it a teaspoon at a time, stirring between each addition. Be sure to get to the bottom and stir until it stops giving you major resistance. If it begins to be as thin as water or milk, you’ve gone to far. Add more cornstarch and try to get it back to heavy cream-like thickness. Trust me on this one. If it’s too watery, you’ll end up having to make a second batch of cornstarch slurry, anyway, b/c it won’t thicken like you need it to:

Next, get out a whisk, and stir the broth/juices. Now is the time to add any seasonings you wish to add. I usually do pepper, (no salt, b/c it’s going to be salty enough from the broth) garlic, onion powder, and parsley (For turkey gravy, I also add a touch,like an 1/8 tsp., of sage, rosemary, and thyme). I don’t measure and I really don’t even know what to tell you to use. Maybe try 1/2 tsp of each and see how it tastes, if you don’t like it, add more of what you think it needs, and taste again. You can play with the broth a lot b/c it’s not going to stick on you until you add a thickener, so take the opportunity to experiment a bit with flavors. If you absolutely must have a recipe, I’d try this one, subbing the cornstarch and water for the milk and flour. It’s about the only recipe I could find online that was simple and had measurements for the spices, sorry:
“5 cups turkey stock with pan drippings
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Bring the turkey stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in soup, and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer.
Warm the milk in the microwave, and whisk in the flour with a fork until there are no lumps. Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Be careful not to let the bottom scorch. Serves 28.”

A whisk is important b/c it can get to the bottom of the pan and can break up any chunks if some should develop (they shouldn’t, by the way):

Now is where it gets a bit trickier. This is the do-or-die moment of your gravy, so pay attention. Still on medium heat, your broth should be close to bubbling (if it’s boiling, reduce heat and wait until it has almost completely stopped bubbling-a few bubbles/simmer is okay, if you are a quick whisk-er, but for a first-time gravy-maker, I’d really suggest making sure it’s not bubbling at all at this point). With your whisk in one hand and the cornstarch slurry in the other, begin SLOWLY pouring the slurry into the pan and QUICKLY whisking it in. Pour slowly to make sure you have enough time to stir it in before it solidifies in annoying little chunks, and whisk quickly to avoid the same issue.

If this is your first gravy, you might try just pouring half of the slurry in while whisking and bring it to a simmer/boil while whisking constantly to see if it is thick enough. If it’s not thick enough to please you, lower the temperature again (still whisking all the time, b/c now that the thickener has been added is when the gravy can stick if you’re not on top of things) and when it’s not bubbling so much, add the other half of the slurry the same way you did last time-slowly, while whisking quickly. Bring back to a boil (you can raise the temp a bit to achieve this faster if you are really good at whisking the whole time). The key to understanding cornstarch as a thickener is remembering two very important things. One, the cornstarch cannot be added without making it into a slurry first if you don’t want lumps. Two, it does not fully thicken until it reaches boiling point. So don’t freak out if it’s not thick enough when you first add it. If your heat is very high, it may begin to thicken immediately, but it still won’t reach its’ full potential until it boils. So be patient. If you reach a boil again, and it still isn’t thick enough, you can make another slurry and reduce the heat and repeat the above steps to get it to the thickness you want. Here’s what mine looked like after thickening-see how it now looks like it’s all the same color, essentially? That’s what a thickener does to the juices:

And finally, here’s what my turkey dinner looked like:

And one final hint: If you don’t whisk quickly enough and your cornstarch seizes up in little balls or “lumps”, you can stir in what you can, then just put it through a colander or sieve to get the lumps out and make a new slurry, reduce your heat this time, and try to thicken it again. It likely will remain somewhat thickened even if most of the slurry seized on you, but it may be a little thinner than you want after straining it.

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 1:06 am  Comments (4)  
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