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Thread: Chicken Gravy.....it won't stay thick!

  1. #1
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    Chicken Gravy.....it won't stay thick!

    I like homemade Chicken and Biscuits or Chicken and Noodles. For some reason, over the last few years, I can get the gravy to thicken but then it turns watery. I like to add milk to the boiling stock so that it is creamy in nature. What am I doing wrong here? I make a slurry of flour, cornstarch and water to add to the stock and it starts to thicken, but then goes thin. Should I thicken the stock first and then thin with some milk? I wonder if the glutin in the flour is not what it used to be. I never had this problem years ago. Should I thicken the stock and then add the milk? It still tastes good, but it is Chicken and Noodle Soup instead of Chicken and Noodles with gravy.

  2. #2
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    I have that same problem. Thanks for posting the question and I hope someone out there knows the answer.

  3. #3
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    I don't know the answer but when I thicken something for gravy, I first mix just flour and water to make almost a paste but not that thick. Then I mix it with some of the broth from whatever I am cooking, trying not to get lumps. Sometimes it takes a bit to get it thick enough. The only difference I see between yours and mine is that you also use corn starch and I don't.

  4. #4
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    I mix my flour and cornstarch together and add some cooled broth to it until it is like pancake batter thickness? I drizzle in as much as I need to the boiling stock until it thickens, stirring constantly with a whisk so it doesn't stick. You could probably use milk to add to the flour/cornstarch mixture before adding it to the stock if that is your preference. I haven't had my gravy liquefy later, in fact after refrigerating it usually needs a bit of moisture to loosen it up.

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    When I make homemade chicken gravy, after frying the chicken, I drain most of the fat off and add flour or cornstarch to the drippings and make a roux. You want it to be a golden brown. I pour as much milk as I need to make the gravy and use a wisk and stir and bring it up to a good rolling bubble (not boil) then turn it down to a simmer but still keep an eye on it. it is usually the last thing that goes on the table. As far as the chicken and noodles go, you may have too much stock or water on it. Just use milk or cream to your flour or cornstarch (equal parts). When you add the slurry that has thickened and then put it into more liquid, it has no choice but to thin.

  6. #6
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    When my husband makes home made soups - pea soup - potato soup - etc and wants the soup to be thicker, he adds instant mashed potatoes, waits awhile and adds more depending on how thick he wants the soup to be. the potato flavor tastes great.
    Jean
    from Middle River, Md USA

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    Boiling cornstarch will cause it to break and go runny.

    I have never made the sort of gravy used for biscuits, it sounds like from the above comments to similar to a white sauce or the base used to cheese sauce.

    I always make a roux when I make gravy. The last couple years I have used rice flour instead of wheat flour or corn starch when making gravy. It takes longer to thicken, but works really well and the gravy does not break.
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  8. #8
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    You do need to boil your cornstarch/liquid combination for the cornstarch to be able to do its job and thicken the liquid. All my recipes that use cornstarch as a thickener tell you to mix the cornstarch with cool or room temp liquid, stir into your pot, and then bring to a boil and cook until thickened.

    Here are some tips for working with cornstarch...maybe one of them will give you a clue to why your gravy thickens and then gets watery...the one about stirring gently is interesting as is the one about overcooking...
    http://voices.yahoo.com/tips-cooking...h-8774599.html

  9. #9
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    No idea why the cornstarch/flour aren't working well, but you could add an egg yolk or two to your milk, whisk well and add to your stock; that should make a difference. Good luck!

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    Thank you for this link. I think I was over cooking and over stirring. I don't like to make a roux because it adds more fat to the gravy and I am trying to eliminate as much fat from my diet as I can while still keeping top flavor. I boil the chicken then skin and debone.

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    maybe the milk is thinning the stock down to much. Try adding the milk with the stock and thicken with the flour and water. I think of Chicken and Noodles as a thin and Chicken and Dumplings (biscuits) as thicker.

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    Try this, make a roux with just butter and flour, make sure there are no lumps and it should be smooth. slowly add your stock so that you won't get flour lumps, let that thicken, then add your milk, again slowly. whisking/stiring the whole time. If your gravy still isn't the texture you want make a cornstarch slurry, its just cornstarch and water. Add that a little at a time and that should thicken it. A slurry doesn't have exact measurements, its just put cornstarch in a bowl and water till its dissolved, it doesn't take a whole lot of water.... hope this helps...

  13. #13
    Super Member Maggiemay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazythread View Post
    When my husband makes home made soups - pea soup - potato soup - etc and wants the soup to be thicker, he adds instant mashed potatoes, waits awhile and adds more depending on how thick he wants the soup to be. the potato flavor tastes great.
    I like my soups thick, more stew like. I add instant mashed potatoes too.

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    Like some that have posted I always start with a roux, but have never used cornstarch as a roux but regular white flour.
    The more that you brown your roux it lessens the thickening power howver...learned that from Emeril Lagase. I dont brown my roux but cook for 1 full minute to remove raw taste.
    When I make my cream soups Iuse stock, to make the gravy but finish off with half and half or full on heavy cream. Have used plain milk in a pinch.
    Thanks for the hint on rice flour...i'll give that a try.

  15. #15
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    Make a roux with just butter (or drippings) and flour. No cornstarch. Cook until the desired color. Then add milk for cream gravy or broth to add to soups and stews. Shouldn't break down at all. Mine never does.

  16. #16
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    Try not using any cornstarch - it doesn't hold the thicken agent I have found I stick just with flour.
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  17. #17
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    I would not add flour AND cornstarch. Old-fashioned gravy is made with flour. As some have described, add some flour to the fat left in the pan, brown it, then slowly add water while whisking. I prefer to use watered down cream for that step.

    If you choose to use cornstarch, as I do - because I am gluten intolerant, as someone mentioned, mix the cornstarch with COLD water, then whisk it into your broth. Bring it to a boil until it thickens.

    Either way, if you cook it too long, or on high temp., the fat will separate from the broth and you'll have
    a watery mess.
    :-)
    CAS

  18. #18
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    My DH can't have Gluten. So I make all gravy out of either rice flour or potato flour. Works great for me. Never have a problem with it staying thick.

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    I've had that happen with cornstarch, but never with flour. You can also use Arrowroot.

  20. #20
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    I use cornstarch and water. Thicken it till it's like a paste and add.

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