Wow, the days are just flying by now…. and before we know it there it was GONE! and Christmas Eve will be upon us…34 sleeps however it’s still too early to put up the tree…
Today I am going to share some recipes for gravy which can be made 2-3 days in advance or frozen…and if you are not used to making gravy then it gives you time to practise and by Christmas day it will be perfect…
Gravy… no dinner is complete without gravy…Gravy is also a contentious issue some like it thin some like it thicker and some like it so you can stand a spoon up in it…me… I like it so it lightly coats the back of the spoon not too thin and definitely not too thick…
All the Christmas magazines have some lovely gravies and most have to be made in advance although they can be frozen and that saves time on Christmas day or whenever you eat your festive meal…
But a quick gravy made from the drippings of the roasting pan can often not be beaten… it’s just as delicious as all these fancy twice-sieved gravies…Here I’ve given you the choice plus a vegetarian/vegan option…
What you need to make the gravy from your meat drippings…
Pan drippings from roasted meat and the browned bits: If the drippings are in a pan you can heat up on the stovetop, then pour off everything but two tablespoons of fat and keep all the browned, stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pan in there…which are the best part…
If the drippings are on a baking sheet or something that can’t go on the stovetop, measure out the correct amount of drippings, pour off the rest, and then use a spatula to scrape the solid bits out of the pan and add them in with the drippings.
Flour: To make your roux and thicken your gravy…
Water, Wine, stock, or milk: Any of the 4 will work here… I actually prefer gravy made with water, stock or wine best, but experiment and see what works for you. Stock will give you a really flavour-packed gravy and gravy made with milk will be richer but not for me but I know some people do( my mum) did when making gravy for the liver and bacon for me though not on my Christmas dinner…
But this is for Christmas Dinner so a glug of wine or three will most certainly liven up the gravy although often as everything is sooooo rich I just opt for water plus a little homemade stock or an organic stock cube…
A fine-mesh strainer: Finally, straining your gravy through a fine-mesh strainer will make sure your gravy is perfectly smooth and creamy with no lumps or solid pieces…personally we like the drippings and the scrappings…but it’s a personal choice and as I said earlier gravy is very personal even within families…
Start by pouring off all but two tbsp of fat from your pan (I like to reserve the rest of the drippings for later use the fat makes for lovely roasties), leaving any solid, stuck-on bits in the pan.
Heat over medium-high heat until any remaining solids are golden brown. Watch out, the fat will splatter during this step. Just turn the heat down if it’s splattering too much.
Now whisk in flour (2 tbsp)and cook until lightly golden, about 30 seconds to a minute.
Then..very slowly at first, pour in your water, wine, stock or milk( 2 cups), whisking out any lumps as they form. Once the flour seems incorporated, you can speed up your pouring.
Cook, whisking continuously for 5 to 8 minutes (possibly longer if making a larger batch), until gravy is thickened and bubbly.
Turn the stove off and whisk in some butter which gives the gravy a lovely shine and salt and pepper to taste if required.
This will make 5-6 servings.
Serve and enjoy!
Next is my easy-to-make tasty turkey gravy and we need a lovely tasty gravy to go with our Christmas dinner…Don’t we?
- 1kg chicken wings halved with kitchen scissors
- the turkey neck, if you have it, cut into pieces
- 3 large carrots, chopped into chunks
- 2 onions, unpeeled and chopped
- 3 celery sticks, chopped
- a small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tbsp Coconut oil/olive Oil
- 2 tsp golden castor sugar
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1.5-litre fresh vegetable stock
Heat the oven to 220C/390F/gas 7.
Tip the chicken wings into a roomy roasting tin with the turkey neck (if using), carrots, onions, celery and thyme. Scatter over the sugar, toss in the oil and roast for 50 mins until brown and lightly charred.
Put the roasting tin on low heat, stir in the tomato purée and flour, and cook until sticky. Splash in the balsamic vinegar, and pour over 1.5 litres of stock to just cover all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer. then using a potato masher to mash all the ingredients together so as to release the flavour.
Simmer everything for 20 mins until you have a tasty thickened gravy, then strain it through a sieve, pushing down hard on all the mushy veg. Cool and chill for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Heat the gravy to serve, adding roasting juices from your turkey, if you like.
Prosecco and Mushroom Gravy
- 2 tbsp coconut oil/olive oil
- 500 gm chicken wings, chopped into pieces (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
- Turkey’s backbone and neck, hacked into pieces
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 2 Carrots, cut into small chunks
- 2 celery sticks, cut into small chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- small bunch of Fresh Thyme
- 30 gm dried porcini
- pinch of golden castor sugar
- 100 gm plain flour
- 250 ml Prosecco, plus a splash (optional)
- 2-litre chicken stock (preferably fresh)
- A squeeze of lemon
Heat the oil in a large shallow saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. When it’s shimmering, add the wings and the turkey pieces, and spend a good 20 mins browning them well in the oil – sticky bits of meat in the pan will add flavour.
Tip in the vegetables, herbs and porcini, scatter over the sugar and stir everything in. Turn down the heat and brown the vegetables for another 10 mins. Stir in the flour, then pour in the Prosecco and simmer down to a paste.
Stir in the stock and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. Skim any scum off with a ladle and simmer steadily for 30 mins until thickened and reduced by about a third. Season to taste with salt and stir in a squeeze of lemon. Leave to cool slightly, then strain through a sieve into a container and chill. Can be made three days ahead, or frozen for up to three months.
On the day, simply reheat or pour into the turkey roasting tin and reheat with the roasting juices.
If not serving to children, finish with a splash more Prosecco just before serving, if you like.
Lastly, I have a nice red wine vegetarian gravy. if the onions are nicely caramelised then you get a great flavoured gravy…it is also very important that before and during the process of making this gravy you must remember to taste and taste again…x
Red wine vegetarian gravy.
- 2 Brown Onions
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 200 ml Red Wine
- 200 ml Vegetable Stock
- 1 tbsp Flour
- 2 tbsp Water
- salt and pepper
- 1 sprig Thyme
Peel the onions and cut them in half. Lay each half with the flat side down and slice so you have semi-circle-shaped pieces.
Head 1 tbsp Olive Oil over medium heat in a frying pan and add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften and become translucent.
Then reduce the heat to low and add the balsamic vinegar. Spread the onions into a flat layer and let cook for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Once done, the onions should be a deep golden brown.
Turn the heat back up to medium and add the red wine, let it reduce for 2-3 minutes before adding the vegetable stock and thyme. Let everything simmer for 5 minutes.
Mix the flour with the water to make a paste, then add to the gravy. Stir the gravy constantly until it’s nice and thick and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove the thyme sprig and season with salt and pepper.
Sometimes I use this gravy as it is which still has visible pieces of onion or I push it through a sieve if I want a smoother gravy.
All of these recipes can be made in advance or frozen…Which again eases that Christmas day stress… And I am all for that a nice leisurely lunch enjoyed by all including the cook…
Thank you for joining me today for the first of my Christmas Recipes as always I look forward to your comments x