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My gravy making technique is hit-and-miss to say the least. I tend to get the best results when roasting beef because it's rare. That is, it's just roasts enough to cause the juice to come out. What I find with other meats, especially chicken and pork (which need to be cooked for much longer) is that the potatoes and other veg that I roast seem to absorb the juices (which I see as a good thing), but then I have no juice left.

So, my question is this: how can I roast my potatoes and veg with the meat, but keep enough for gravy? I really don't want to start roasting the veg in a separate pan.

I'm in the UK. I mention this because I have visited America once, and the gravy seems to be far thicker there (more like a sauce than a gravy).

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It sounds like you are trying to maximize the amount of pan juices, sometimes referred to be the French word jus.

Any piece of meat is only going to express so much jus; if you have potatoes or other absorbent vegetables in the roasting pan, they are going to absorb it and it won't be available for another purpose such as gravy.

What you still will almost always have is fond, the brown roasty bits at the bottom of the pan. Many cooks deglaze the fond with a small amount of stock or wine to create the basis for a sauce or gravy, as the fond has a very rich and complex flavor—and its flavor may actually be enhanced by aromatic vegetables in the pan.

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Won't the brown roasty bits at the bottom of the pan simply turn into brown roasty bits floating in the gravy? –  pm_2 Dec 22 '13 at 13:21
    
Some may, but other parts of the fond will dissolve. –  SAJ14SAJ Dec 22 '13 at 13:22

I'm sure all the "proper" cooks here will tell me I'm an idiot, but I have a secret ingredient for cooking chicken (sorry, no experience with pork, though I'm sure it will work the same):

Water.

Add enough water, strategically, to the chicken to keep it plenty moist without needing to soak up the natural chicken juice. It will also mix with and add to the little gravy that you would otherwise have, resulting in a pan full of delicious gravy.

You can also cook it a bunch longer, without worrying about it drying it.

Now, the downside to this is that it will dilute the flavor a bit, both of the chicken and the gravy - however, if the flavoring is strong enough (and yes, it really does depend what kind - this technique does NOT work out good with all types), it will still come with enough flavor, and the extra moistness of the chicken, plus the ample gravy, will usually offset this.

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1  
Baking with water or other liquid is a wonderful and legitimate cooking technique, commonly called braising. It is a different technique, however. –  SAJ14SAJ Dec 22 '13 at 20:14
    
@SAJ14SAJ "different" from what? Yes, it changes the cooking a bit, but you can add a bit of water simply enough to just about any cooking technique. –  AviD Dec 22 '13 at 20:22
    
Different from roasting. –  SAJ14SAJ Dec 22 '13 at 20:23
    
you can add water even while roasting... –  AviD Dec 22 '13 at 20:25

Put a small rack in the bottom of the roasting pan and put the meat, potatoes, veggies, etc. on the rack and let the juices drip into the bottom of the pan.

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Remove the juice as you cook. Pour it out into a cup every 20 mins or so.

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