August 22, 2010
If you want to make good gravy with no additives or stock cubes, you need to start off by making some stock. See my Stock recipe. You can use up old carrots etc. for stock – carrot tops are particularly good. Do make sure you have carrot, celery and onions – they are the most important ingredients. I don’t recommend adding other vegetables like brussel sprouts, they can make your stock bitter.
If you have giblets from a goose, chicken, duck etc. do add them to your basic stock recipe, they will add flavour. Simmer for an hour or two and then let the stock cool until you need it to make gravy (do strain it first).
When your roast meat has cooked, take it out of the oven and rest it for 30 minutes. Tip the juices into a Pyrex jug, leaving a little in the bottom of your oven tray. Turn your hob on very low and sprinkle a heaped spoonful of plain flour into the bottom of the tray. Use a wooden spoon and stir the flour and the juice together to make a roux – this is very similar to making cheese sauce. When you have a flour and stock mixture, you can start adding liquid to your roasting tray, slowly. Pour in the remaining juices from your roast and keep stirring, you don’t want it to go lumpy. At this point I add a little red wine vinegar and a glass of wine (normally red), plus some of the stock made earlier. Be sure not to add liquid to your oven tray that is hotter than the liquid in the tray itself – if you do the gravy will go instantly lumpy. Always add liquids that are cooler than the contents of your tray (warm is fine).
You can turn up the heat a little, add some more stock from time to time and allow the gravy to reduce and thicken (it’s the heat that makes the flour thicken the gravy). Do taste the gravy to make sure it’s seasoned to suit you and you can add a little more wine near the end of the cooking time to bring back the flavour of it. If I have any gravy from a previous roast, saved in the freezer, I might add it towards the end.
If you’ve cooking something quite fatty, do remove the fat from the juices or your gravy will be unpalatable. If you do get any lumps you can always use an electric, hand blender to chop and mix the lumps or put the gravy through a sieve before serving. I haven’t used stock cubes or Bisto in more than 20 years and I wouldn’t swap my home made gravy for something out of a packet.