The key to having appealing looking brown gravy, rather than pale gravy, is to brown the flour you use to thicken the gravy. Brown the flour in a skillet before adding liquid.
YEP!!! when i was a kid, i remember watching my mom make gravy. She made the best! "Flour plus fat" makes a roux. let's say, you make a roast. To start with, you put a little oil in your pan/roaster and sear all surfaces. The residue left in the pan is the start of your great gravy. Pour off and discard any excess fat and roast your meat in that pan. Add a little water for moisture and cover so your meat doesn't dry out. I add tons of carrots and onions, and maybe red potatoes (& some extr water) an hour or more before the roast is done. when your meat (and vegies, if you added them) is done/tender you lift it out of the pan onto serving platter and set aside. Pour off and reserve the juices from the pan. Heat the pan over med/med-hi heat and add flour. about 1 Tablespoon per each cup of gravy you plan to make. There should be some fat left in the pan (if not, add some fat that you reserved or a blob of butter or some other fat) You want to have about the same amount of fat, as flour. cook and stir constantly until the flour/fat is smooth and brown. Be really careful- there's a fine line between browned and burned. At this point, add your reserved liquids, minus any excess fat that should have risen to the top. simmer, constantly stirring and scraping all the residue that's stuck on the bottom and sides of the pan. As you stir, add water ( milk if its poultry gravy) until the gravy is the color and thickness and flavor that you want (season with S&P or whatever, if it's needed). If there isn't as much gravy as you planned, or if it's
too thick add broth or bouillon and water, to achieve the wanted results.
At Thanksgiving, we always had packets of dry gravy mix on hand to add if we needed more.
The key to having good gravy is always the meat juices used to make the gravy. Whatever meat you are cooking, if it is a roast, chicken, or hamburger, or pork chops, the pan drippings, which in most cases is the browned pieces of meat or browned coating left in the pan when the meat is removed is what makes the gravy. By adding flour to the pan, with the fat still in the pan, stirring till the flour is browned, then add seasoning, water or potatoe water or milk and stir till thickened. Always save a bit of the potato water when you boil potatoes, for the gravy. It makes the gravy much more flavorful. In some cases you may have to remove a portion of the grease or fat from the pan, otherwise you will have enough gravy to feed an army. A couple of tablespoons of fat is sufficient in most cases.
Actually, you can use fat or you can create a roux with equal parts wine and flour. Again, it's best to deglaze the roasting pan with some wine, and then add the flour (if too thick of a paste occurs, thin slightly with wine, 1/2 tsp at a time). The wine adds a wonderful depth of flavor, especially to chicken and beef gravy.
Browning the flour also improves the flavor of the gravy. You know how some gravies taste "raw?" If the flour is browned, then if the flour and butter/meat juices are allowed to cook a bit, the flavor improves.