Making Gravy

Many people expect to be served gravy with with roast, rissoles, grilled sausages - in fact any type of grilled meat or vegetarian substitute (such as a nut roast). 

You can make gravy from scratch in a number of different ways, but the basic rule of thumb is to use equal amounts of fat and flour, brown off the flour (this is called a roux), add liquid and flavourings, taste and adjust for salt and serve.

The following recipe is for making a very basic gravy when you don't have pan juices

Ingredients:

  • 1 tab oil
  • 1 tab plain flour
  • 1 stock cube
  • up to one cup water
  • salt

Method:

  1. Place the oil in a saucepan and heat to a moderate temperature (not smoking)
  2. Stir the flour to the oil and make sure that all the flour is absorbed in the oil.  If it is sticking together in clumps, add a little more oil - you should be able to stir it without any trouble.
  3. Keep stirring until the flour becomes a dark brown colour
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add 1/2 cup of water in one pour - careful of the steam and break up any lumps
  5. Stir vigorously as the mixture thickens and keep adding water and reheating until it begins to boil and is a pouring consistency.
  6. Add a pinch of salt and stir
  7. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Making gravy from pan drippings:

This is a much tastier version and the preferred method if you have baked your meat and/or vegies in the oven.  You can also use this method if you have used a frypan to prepare rissoles or sausages.  The ingredients are similar to the ones in the previous recipe but some guesswork is necessary.  Make sure there's only fat in the pan, no other liquid. 

Method:

  1. Drain most of the fat or oil from the pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons of oil.  Leave all the crunchy bits in the pan.
  2. Gradually stir in about 2 tablespoons of flour until all the fat is absorbed, cook the flour off either on top of the stove or in the oven - until it bubbles up is enough.
  3. Continue cooking and stirring until you have a dark brown colour.
  4. Add stock or water and flavourings gradually and keep stirring until all the nice sticky bits are released from the bottom of the pan. 
  5. Taste and add salt if it needs it.
  6. Strain (optional) and serve.

Variations:

You can add an assortment of different flavours to your gravy, including:
  • seeded mustard (roast beef or chicken)
  • Worcestershire sauce and/or
  • tomato sauce (great with sausages and rissoles)
  • soy sauce (for extra flavour - careful about adding salt)
  • chopped onion (cook it off with the oil before adding the flour)
  • green peppercorns (for pepper steak)
  • creamed horseradish (roast beef)
  • mushrooms (do you really need a reason?)

Tips:

Parisian Essence or Gravy Browning is simply burnt sugar and water.  One bottle will last you years because you only need to use a few drops to darken gravy or cakes.  It's not sweet at all and because you only use a little, it doesn't change the taste of the gravy.  Use it if you haven't browned the roux enough for a rich brown colour.

Lumpy Gravy?  Don't despair; just use your whisk or stick blender to smooth it out.  You could strain the gravy if you are really concerned.

Using cooking bags.  If you choose to use a cooking bag to prepare your roast, don't discard the juices that have accumulated inside the bag. 

  • Remove the roast and allow it to rest. 
  • Carefully pour the juices into a separating jug and let it sit for about 5 minutes. 
  • Prepare your gravy using the first method and use the stock from the bag instead of water.