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I have found that chicken broth or stock does not thicken as easily as beef broth or stock will. I often find myself adding too much flour or cornstarch, hoping the chicken broth will thicken, but in the end all I have is starchy tasting almost-gravy.

I guess what I'm asking is what's a good stopping point, how not to add too much cornstarch? ...and is there a way to get rid of the starchy taste if I go past that point?

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Are you making this as a soup or is it to be used in other dishes? – Pulse Jul 18 '10 at 3:04
Question is about a gravy, not soup. – JustRightMenus Jul 18 '10 at 13:19
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Boil the broth down more before adding the cornstarch.

The broth will continue to thicken as it cools, so aim for a little thin/runny in the pan so it's the right consistency on the table.

Don't be afraid to mix in the cornstarch in multiple, smaller batches.

Edit: For gravy, I prefer the taste of flour to corn starch.

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Actually, cornstarch will lose its thickening ability if you cook it too much; you're better off boiling down the broth first, or using a roux, like @Kosta recommended. – Joe Jul 18 '10 at 13:58
That's why I said to boil it down more BEFORE. What destroys the thickening ability is reaching too high a temperature, not length of time. I start to turn down the heat within a few seconds of adding the first cornstarch. – Tim Gilbert Jul 19 '10 at 5:14

For gravy, i think it's better to start with the roux and add the hot liquid to it until you get the consistency that you want, instead of the other way around.

To make the roux, after you make a roast, leave a couple of tablespoons of fat in the pan (or just melt some butter) and add an equal amount of flour and cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the starchy taste. Then add the hot liquid a ladle-full at a time until it's the right thickness.

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after growing up with gravy that didn't start with roux, I concur: all gravies must start with roux! – jcollum Nov 30 '10 at 20:02
also, the color of the roux is important: it should have a medium-dark copper color when it's ready, so I hear – jcollum Nov 30 '10 at 20:02

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