Thursday, December 16, 2010

Get Ahead Gravy - mmmmmmm.

One of the things I find most stressful about a turkey dinner is making the gravy.  Even if the turkey is dry and the veggies soggy, all can be forgiven if the gravy is lip-smackingly good.  But there have been years where my tried and true gravy recipe just doesn't turn out - for no understandable reason, it just doesn't. 
I was watching Jamie Oliver's Family Christmas on the Food Network, where he demonstrated a "make ahead gravy"  - what a great idea!  If I have an amazing gravy already made, then that takes the stress out of the angry gravy gods messing up my holiday feast! I couldn't find the recipe online, so I kept watching the segment over and over until I think I have it figured out. 

So, here is my attempt at get ahead gravy!  I look forward to having my gravy pre-made, sitting cozy and snug in my freezer, to be brought out just before Christmas dinner - that should shave a good hour off my prep time on Christmas.  YIPEEE!!! (please note that this portion of my post was written before I tried the recipe - scroll to the end to see what I thought after the process was done!).

Here is the recipe as best as I could figure it out.

Jamie Oliver's Get Ahead Gravy

Put the following in a roasting pan:

- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped (just take the really papery brown skin off)
- 5 sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 strips of bacon, diced
- 16 chicken wings (I guessed here, be sure to crack the bones with a cleaver)
- Teaspoon of salt
- Good pinch of pepper
- 2 star anise (I didn't have any of these, and I didn't feel like going to the store, so I left it out).

Mix it all well in the pan and roast for about an hour at 400 degrees F.  After it has roasted, remove from the oven and mash it all together with a potato masher on a high heat on the stove.

Add 2 tablespoons of ordinary flour per pint (570 ml) of gravy you intend to make.  Add as much water as you would like to have gravy, and boil for 20 minutes, mashing occasionally to release the flavours.

Once it has boiled for 20 mins and darkened in colour, pass through a sieve and let it cool.  Store in containers/bags in the fridge/freezer.

When it comes to using it, bring to the boil and mix in the juices from the roast turkey (drain the fat first).  

For a little something extra, Jamie adds 2 heaped dessert spoons of cranberry jelly, or a few tsps of butter for extra gloss and richness.  Not sure if I will end up adding the jelly - I guess I will have to wait until Christmas to see if I fancy something a little sweet in my gravy!

Here is everything all cut up and ready to roast - a thing of beauty!

Out of the oven - I ended up leaving it in for about an hour and 20 minutes.  Looks good enough to eat!

After adding the flour, water and mashing every thing up - it looks a bit like a chicken pot pie filling (with bones).....gee, I hope it picks up some colour soon!

 Ok, it's now been about 35 minutes on the stove.... I think this is as dark as it's going to get......

 Double straining process.  Put it through the large strainer first to leave the really large bits behind, then through a finer strainer.....

Just over 4 cups of final product.

After:  OK, so now I have spent some time making this gravy.  The colour isn't as dark as I had hoped it would be, and I have just over 1 litre to show for my efforts.  It tastes OK, more like chicken pot pie filling than gravy though..... I am however, still optimistic!  I will put it to rest in my freezer until Christmas, and maybe with the addition of the pan juices from the actual turkey, it will darken in colour and get a bit more of a roasty flavour. 
I am not going to give up on this concept of pre-made gravy.  I think I will try it a few more times, maybe roast the chicken and veg longer to get more colour on it?  Add more water, to get more final product? 

I must say, this is the second not so stellar venture into the kitchen in a couple of days..... I wonder if I have some bad kitchen ju-ju going on........

Dear readers, if you are feeling adventurous, give this recipe a try - perhaps with some of the modifications I suggested!  Or let me know if you have any great time-saving make ahead tips for a holiday meal.  Apparently, I need all the help I can get!


  1. Haven't tried it, but ingredients look good. To get a darker colour, you melt butter in a frying pan, stir in flour until mixture is crumbly and continue to cook until desired colour is achieved ... it might help darken the gravy a bit - I found this suggestion for making gravy online somewhere... haven't of course tried it - Leigh

  2. I'm impressed with the making ahead concept! Not sure how to darken the gravy up, but can suggest adding milk to make more. I've done that and it works well. And if you need to thicken it back up a bit, you can stir in a bit of flour at a time as you warm it up.