Thursday, 23 December 2010

Get Ahead - Caramelised Onion Veggie Gravy

This is inspired by Jamie's Get Ahead Gravy... but this one really is mine...

... now... we all have those Christmas lunch, time saving, 'do-it-the-night-before' little nuggets that we've picked up from the odd TV program or book, or great aunt Sadie... but let's be honest, come the big day we've probably forgotten them and the reality is us running around in a deep sweat wondering why the bloody oven isn't getting hot enough and no lunch is NOT FUCKING READY YET!!!!

... and I watch these cookery programs and think to myself, well yes HRH Delia, it may come out golden and roasted for you but to be frank you've got 2 ovens the size of small cars plus months to prep and a budget the size of a small Eastern European country to purchase the best of the best with...

... so when I saw this recipe for gravy and in particular good old Jamie Oliver himself telling me to make it not just the day before but a few days before, a little light bulb went off in my head... this TOTALLY makes sense... gravy is always a last minute stress, yet such a vital ingredient and if all you have to do is reheat it at the last second then all the power to you...

... and whilst you may think this seems an odd item to get fussy about remember that The Big V is a Northern boy... and this means that gravy is probably THE most important part of the meal... 

So, as i'm catering for myself and The Big V this year I have to make a veggie gravy but I have included the meat version for you too so that you can see how simple it is... however I will ONLY be making the veggie version (MY version) and then adding goose juice to my portion of it... hope this makes sense and you're following so far?... either way I promise you the most delicious, hassle-free gravy ever...

Caramelised Onion Veggie Gravy

2 celery sticks - roughly chopped
2 medium carrots - roughly chopped
3 large onions - quartered 
5 bay leaves
5 fresh sage leaves
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 star anise
olive oil
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons plain flour
a glass of white wine
2 litres of good quality veg stock

and if you're making the non-veggie version you will need

2 rashers smokey bacon
8 chicken wings (crack the bones with a sharp knife)

- pre-heat the oven to 200 and put everything into a big roasting pan, drizzle with a good glug of oil, sprinkle with the sugar, pour in half a pint of mixed stock and white wine and bung it in the oven for at least an hour... check it regularly... you want the onions to caramelise but not burn, so turn it all frequently, top up with stock if it's looking dry and keep going till the onions are golden... it's this colour that will give your gravy the intense flavour and dark colour.

- once it's suitably golden, turn up the oven to full whack and pour in the rest of your glass of wine and the stock and with a wooden spoon shuffle all the roasted veg around so that you get all the bits stuck on the bottom of the pan off.... let it simmer in the oven for a further 20 mins (you can do this stage on the hob if you prefer but make sure your tin is hob-proof)

- now get a potato masher or a hand held blitzer and roughly mash the stuff together and begin to add the flour one tablespoon at a time, it should slowly start to thicken and the longer you let it sizzle the darker brown it will go.  Again this can be done either in the oven or on the hob.

- once you're happy with the colour and consistency you need to taste for seasoning and then pass it through a sieve till it's a smooth glossy gravy.

- let it cool and then freeze.

- on the big day take it out of the freezer at the same time you start to cook, this way it should be ready to reheat just as you're ready to serve... or like I will, portion it in to halves and add the meat juice to your bit...

... my only other pre-Christmas Day tip is to prepare and dress your bird on Christmas Eve... then all you have to do (other than open prezzies) is bung it in the oven.

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. I'm book markingthis for next year when it is my turn to cook the Christmas lunch again (only in charge of desserts this year!)
    I have copied out Jamie's original version but quite like the sound of teh veggie one. Thanks for sharing your genius with us ;0)

  2. I totally agree with you. Many times I watch cookery programs with the perfect golden bird and the get-ahead strategy... Well, I try to do as much as I can, but at the end of the day, it's gonna be crazy, but fun crazy if that makes any sense.
    Anyway, the gravy looks great, but I'll have to make the meat-eater version... hmmm bacon... :)

  3. i wanted stop by and thank you for the kind words about my glad I have Teddy here with me... don't know if i could make it without Teddy...

    i have enjoyed getting to know you this year and look forward to a continued friendship in the new year...
    p.s. i hear ya on the gravy....

    merry christmas, my friend
    love, kary and teddy

  4. Nice looking gravy.

    Merry Christmas Dom, have a good one.


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