Enhance Your Store-Bought Gravy With A Punch Of Umami

While some people have mastered cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, one dish can stump even the most proficient cook. Gravy might seem like a simple dish, but the smooth, flavorful sauce that smothers mashed potatoes and rescues dry meat can be more difficult to make than it seems. Some people turn to store-bought gravy to avoid lumps, breakage, and other cooking stumbling blocks.

Although store-bought gravy can be convenient, it might not have the same bold taste as the version in grandma's gravy boat. With the heat-and-serve variety, the flavor might have the standard sweet, sour, salty, or bitter notes, but it can lack a flavor that's more difficult to describe. According to Reader's Digest, umami might not have a particular concept or description, but it is often the savory component of a dish. Basically, it is more like a flavor that balances all the other flavors and adds a punch at the same time. Without it, a recipe can be bland or seem like it's lacking something. Even though store-bought gravy can be convenient, a semi-homemade hack can turn it into a sauce that deserves space on the holiday table.

Give your store-bought gravy a flavor kick

Opening a jar and heating it in a pan should only be part of the store-bought gravy preparation. Think of this pre-made food as a starting point. Beyond adding salt and pepper, a few additional ingredients will take blandness out of the conversation.

According to Fine Dining Lovers, there are 10 foods that are naturally high in umami. Some options include mushrooms, soy sauce, and black olives. Adding sautéed mushrooms to gravy is a simple idea to boost the umami taste. From a robust shiitake to a classic button, most varieties will impact the flavor. If pieces of mushrooms are not palatable, consider puréeing some to add flavor as well as body to the gravy.

Other ideas can also add significant flavor. Miso or oyster sauce are two good options, but home cooks should use caution when adding these ingredients since the flavor is more pungent. From fungi to seasoned paste, there are plenty of ways to add depth to a store-bought gravy, it just involves looking in the pantry for a little help.

Was grandma right that giblets add flavor?

While grandma may have been resourceful in the kitchen, some cooks have wondered if that package of turkey giblets really adds any flavor to the gravy. Even though a dash of one ingredient or another might add some umami, the old-school method of using other turkey ingredients in gravy might be a tastier option.

According to Food Network, giblets are a variety of turkey pieces like the neck, gizzard, and sometimes the heart. This offal can be rich in flavor, which is why some gravy recipes use it. If you're thinking about boosting a store-bought gravy, adding turkey giblets is a smart solution. They can bring an earthy, robust flavor that is an umami characteristic. Although care should be used when cooking these in your Thanksgiving dinner, they can be a good choice. Who knew grandma had the best food hack all along?