five-spice chicken gravy


oh, gravy.  i know you know it is delicious.  and if you haven’t had it before, i feel bad for you.  truly.

but in the interest of mixing it up, let’s use one of the most chinese spices ever to make this gravy super extra special.

you’ll need:

  • chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • a clove or two of garlic
  • drippings
  • star anise
  • chinese five-spice
  • flour
  • butter (optional)
  • cream (optional)
  1. it is all about the drippings.  i made chicken gravy, which means i needed chicken drippings.  my favorite is to use the oils that chicken skin gives off when cooked over really high heat in a frying pan.  other great options are to use the juices that drip off of chicken legs when baking, or the liquid fat that chicken thighs give off when sauteed.  anyway, add your greasy fatty goodness to a pot, add minced garlic, and simmer for a little bit.  add in some chicken stock, and bump the heat until it reaches a strong boil.
  2. take the heat down to a simmer, add one pod of star anise and spoon or two of chinese five-spice (which is magical, but i won’t get into the details of here), and black pepper.  cover and let the flavors combine.  give it a taste.  it shouldn’t need any salt, but if it does, feel free to season at your leisure.
  3. extract the anise pod.  if the seed as gone awol, find it.  trust me.  nobody wants to bite down on an anise seed when they are expecting beautiful smoother, perfectly executed gravy.
  4. kill the heat and remove the pot from the burner.  here is where you have some options.  you can’t go dumping flour into a pot of piping hot broth unless you plan to rename this recipe “five-spice chicken soup with the worst tasting dumpling ever created by man-kind.”  your first option is to use a ladle to put a small portion of the broth into a bowl or cup, slowly sprinkle in some flour, and stir.  this mixture can then be reintroduced to the pot, and once a little bit of stirring over low heat occurs, it should thicken quite nicely.  if not, do it again.  another option is to do the same thing, only use melted butter or lukewarm cream instead of a portion of the broth.  this works well, but it will change the flavor of your gravy (because you are introducing new ingredients).  the texture might be a little smoother, but it can lead to the flavor of butter overpowering your five spice.  i won’t tell you which one i prefer.  i’ll leave it entirely up to you to decide.
  5. pour into a bowl.  salivate.  dip whatever you want in it, it’ll be good no matter what.  eat it with a spoon if you feel the need.  i won’t judge you.

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