Every Thanksgiving that I travel to spend with my side of the family, my mother and I get into a slight disagreement about the shopping list. You see, I grew up in the middle of nowhere. The grocery store options are slim, and my list of bougie cheeses, specialty salts, and seasonings runneth over. While I do bring some ingredients with me, it’s easier to send my mom a shopping list so I can arrive and get to work on the big day. (My mom’s pretty great!)
There’s one ingredient my mom and I have to discuss every year: Wondra flour. Without fail, I add it to the top of the shopping list, and every year my mom says, “Oh, I have flour.” I have to remind her that I need this particular type of flour or Thanksgiving will be ruined.
Aside from having a flair for the dramatic, another thing that you should know about me is that Thanksgiving gravy is my love language. I’m pretty humble about my cooking chops. I think almost anyone can be a good cook with a little guidance, but gravy, I know gravy.
In culinary school, I had to master the art of pan sauce, just a fancy term for gravy. Give me a little fond, fat, flour, and stock and I can make you a delicious sauce. It’s a skill I practiced countless times—I still have nightmares about serving my chef instructor a broken pan sauce during a practical exam. Luckily, in reality, I’ve had nothing but smooth and silky gravy since I learned about the wonders of Wondra.
Why You Need To Use Wondra Flour To Make Gravy
Gravy always seems like the most difficult part of the Thanksgiving meal. Making it ahead is possible, though ideally, you make it after the turkey comes out of the oven and rests. But anyone who’s ever hosted Thanksgiving knows that once the bird comes out of the oven, hungry guests start to linger around the kitchen which makes gravy-making stressful. Unless you use Wondra flour.
Wondra is a product from Gold Medal that is also known as “instant flour.” The flour is finely ground, cooked, and dried. Unlike all-purpose flour, it will not clump when added to liquids and you don’t need to cook for as long. Also, if you find your gravy to be a little thin after adding the stock, you can whisk in more Wondra flour until you reach your desired consistency without the risk of the gravy tasting like raw flour.
How To Use Wondra Flour To Make Gravy
With the below tips and Wondra by your side, this year you’ll have your best and most zen-like gravy-making experience to date. Take a deep breath and remember, it’s all gravy!
- Don’t bother separating the turkey drippings. This always feels like a fruitless endeavor. You are going to use all of the goodness in the bottom of your roasting pan. I like to start by setting a fine mesh strainer over a skillet and pouring all of my pan drippings in. Depending on how you roast your turkey, you may need to add a little butter to get more fat. I usually add at least 1/4 cup of butter to the fat from the drippings.
- Set the skillet with your drippings over medium heat to get it warm. In the meantime, add a little wine or stock to your roasting pan and scrape up any fond (i.e. brown bits) that are stuck to the bottom. This is going to add a ton of extra flavor. Strain this liquid into a separate bowl and set it aside.
- Once the fat in your skillet is sizzling, whisk in 1/4 cup Wondra and marvel at how it magically dissolves. You can go up to 1/2 cup, but start with 1/4 cup to see if it’s enough to thicken your gravy. Whisk it for a few minutes so everything is well incorporated, then cook for about two minutes, or until it starts to smell nutty.
- Whisk in the reserved liquid you harvested from the roasting pan, along with two cups of stock. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the gravy has reached your desired consistency. You can add more stock to thin it out, or more Wondra 1/2 tablespoon at a time to thicken it up. Once you have the perfect consistency, season it to taste with salt and pepper. If the gravy is salty, you can balance it out with a little fresh lemon juice or a splash of good-quality vinegar.