k A really amazing Chrismast gravy k
This make-ahead gravy is a Christmas dinner game changer. It’s a tip that just makes me want to share – It was my lovely cousin that actually passed this valuable recipe onto me (via the amazing Jamie Oliver). He rightly claims that gravy has the power to transform or even save a meal.
When there is so much going on in the oven and stove on the big day it can be the poor gravy that sometimes becomes a hurried last minute affair – but with this recipe there’s no need to wait until Christmas Day to prepare your gravy as it can be made days or even weeks beforehand. It’s a strange one to get your head around but if you do this you’ll have a spectacular, meaty, unbelievably tasty, ready-to-go gravy that you can finish on Christmas Day.
I have adapted this recipe with a few tweaks here and there and added ingredients such as leeks, beer and honey.
You need to buy the best quality chicken wings possible – organic free range: there is immense flavour in chicken wings that ultimately gives the gravy that deep rich roasted flavour base. All you need is a large roasting pan filled with roughly chopped vegetables, fresh herbs, a drizzle of honey and a good splash of beer (you can use wine of course but the beer gives it a different dimension). Then simply let it roast and caramelise for one hour in your calm, frenzy free kitchen until the meat is golden-brown, tender and falling off the bone.
Then you put it on the stove and give it a good mashing to extract all the flavour, leave it to gently simmer for 30 minutes and then strain and mush through a sieve.
If only I could capture this smell and put it into a savoury scented candle!
1kg free range organic chicken wings
1 leeks roughly chopped
2 celery sticks , trimmed and roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly sliced
2 onions, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves chopped
small handful of sage leaves
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Drizzle of honey
½ can beer
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons plain flour
2 litres of good quality chicken stock
60 ml of port (optional)
2 heaped dessert spoons of redcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
- Mix the oil, chicken wings, leeks, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, herbs, honey and beer in a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for one hour, or until the meat is golden-brown, tender and falling off the bone and the vegetables are soft.
- Take the roasting pan out of the oven and put on the hob over a low heat. Use a potato masher to really grind and mash everything up. Keep mashing, moving and scraping all the goodness from the bottom of the pan as you go. Add more beer or wine to de-glaze the pan and scrape off any caramelised bits on the bottom.
- Add the flour to thicken the mixture, stir thoroughly then pour in 2 litres of hot chicken stock. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil for 10 minutes until thickened.
- Turn down the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want to add port for do that now.
- Now push it through a sieve into a large bowl really pushing down to get as much flavour as possible. I like to add a few spoons of the mush (minus bones or skin).
- Let the gravy cool down to room temperature put it into containers or freezer bags and pop it in your freezer.
- Take it out of the freezer the day before to defrost. On the day bring it to the boil and add the cooked turkey juices (without the fat) – taste and add the redcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce – magic!