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Recipe: Gravy

A decent Sunday lunch isn't complete without all of trimmings. So, now that you've mastered Yorkshire puddings, it's time for the gravy...

Gravy; there's different ways on different days for different meats & sometimes just for the veg.

The way we feel about roasting & gravy is the same as a good suit & shoes! There’s no point in wearing a great suit with unpolished cheap shoes.

You need to understand the importance of flavour balance, simplicity & method to create easy & quick gravies at home.

The flavour element depends on your chosen roast meat, for example if you’re roasting pork you automatically think of apples & sage or thyme & bacon, if it’s beef you think fresh horseradish & Colman’s English mustard, for chicken the list is endless ...... lemons, sage, thyme, bacon, sausage, garlic or even a nice fatty chorizo or salami. I talk about flavour so you can lift your simple gravy to a chef’s standard of plate/flavour balance for your guests.

The method I’ll share today is for the quick tray gravy to be made whilst the meat is resting. Firstly line your roasting tray with some sliced onions, garlic & coriander, 1 or 2 of your flavour boosters – maybe some apple cores & sage stalks for the pork or some lemon slices & rosemary for the lamb. Roast the meat on top of these little helpers, you’ll find that if you roast on low to medium heat for longer they will caramelise with the meat juices – this is half the battle won! (I know you may usually roast your potatoes around the meat but for your gravy’s sake please roast the pre-boiled spuds in duck fat in a separate tray while you make your gravy & rest the meat.)

Back to the tray – drain away any fat leaving all the juices in! Place the tray over one or two lit gas rings or electric equivalents on low. Scrape with a wooden spoon to release all the sticky bits & add either red or white wine or cider, about a glass full. Cook over a medium heat until it really bubbles for 5 minutes, continually scraping. Now add a teaspoon of dark soy sauce & one of Worcestershire sauce, a little mustard or horseradish if it’s beef or mint sauce for lamb. The tray should now have a darkish thick base to add your liquid to. Thinking ahead of time, you could add good apple juice & chicken stock for pork (diluted stock cubes are fine) or cranberry juice & lamb stock for lamb.

You probably need to add about 1.75 pints of liquid at a ratio of 70% stock minimum. Cook the tray gravy for about 10 minutes & season to taste. Check for your highlighted ideas for flavour, e.g. can you taste the thyme, lemon etc., if not squeeze a little more in until it’s right. Pass the gravy carefully through a sieve into a pan.

Two choices for your finished result:

  1. If you like thicker gravy then let down a little cornflour with water & dribble into the gravy, stirring to thicken.
  2. Or just reduce the pan gravy by simmering it until needed & whisking in a few lumps of cold butter just before serving. This will make it glossy but don’t boil it again afterwards!

Please do remember that organisation is the key to being able to produce a classic English roast with proper gravy. Do freeze any leftover gravy to have with sausage & mash!

There you have it, you'll now have perfect Gravy every time!

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