A plate of Yorkshire pudding with gravy being poured over

Beef gravy

  • makes 750ml
  • Easy

Here’s how to create the ultimate meaty, full-flavoured, glossy gravy. Just the thing, for your weekly Sunday lunch ritual

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No Sunday roast is complete without a jug of silky smooth, deeply savoury, piping hot gravy (not to mention it being a compulsory accompaniment to pie or sausage and mash). The secret is to take the time to make a really great stock and then allow it to gently reduce to concentrate those meaty, caramelised flavours, as well as release the gelatin which gives the gravy that gorgeous silky mouthfeel. Follow these simple steps and I guarantee you will end up with the greatest boat of gravy you’ve ever made. And if you want to make it to go with lamb, chicken or pork – just swap the beef bones for the same weight of the meat you’re eating.


How to make perfect beef gravy

Take stock

The secret to any good gravy is the stock – and the secret to any good stock is in the bones. Chicken wings and beef bones contain large amounts of gelatin and collagen – once they are  dissolved into the stock and reduced, they give gravy a silky mouthfeel as well as bags of flavour.

Reaction time

Roasting the bones and vegetables will give the gravy a deep flavour. Roasting caramelises the fat and meat on the bones – which is known as the Maillard reaction – where a reaction between amino acids and sugars occurs. These then dissolve into the stock during the simmering to give a really meaty flavour and dark colour.

Gently does it

A slow simmer and plenty of skimming will result in a clearer, glossier gravy – boiling the liquid too hard will homogenise those fats and impurities that would otherwise sit on top, giving a cloudy, fatty gravy.

Fine wine

Adding reduced red wine (you will notice the difference if you use a better quality wine) will give the gravy balance – the acidity of wine will counter some of the meatiness of the gravy, ensuring it doesn’t taste too rich.

French know-how

Mixing softened butter and flour (beurre manié), and whisking in at the end is a classic French technique of thickening sauces and gravy – the butter will give an added gloss to the gravy.


Beef gravy

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Ingredients

  • beef bones 750g (tell the butcher you want to make stock)
  • chicken wings 750g
  • onions 2, chopped
  • carrots 2, roughly chopped
  • celery 3 sticks, roughly chopped
  • black peppercorns 8
  • thyme a few sprigs
  • red wine 175ml
  • unsalted butter 2 tbsp, softened
  • plain flour 2 tbsp

Method

  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tip the beef bones, chicken wings and all the vegetables onto a large roasting tray and roast for 1 hour until really crisp and browned.

  • Step 2

    Carefully pour off some of the fat from the tray into a ramekin, then tip all of the vegetables and bones into a large pan with the black peppercorns, thyme, and 1.5 litres of cold water, making sure to really scrape the roasting tray to include any crusty bits off the bottom.

  • Step 3

    Bring to a gentle boil and leave to simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break up the wings during cooking to release more gelatin. Skim any fat or impurities from the top every now and again. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl or container, using a ladle to squeeze all of the liquid out of the meat and bones. At this stage, you can cover, chill or freeze the stock for future use, or use straightaway.

  • Step 4

    Heat a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and add the red wine and bubble until reduced by a third. Pour in the strained stock and simmer gently for 45 minutes, skimming regularly, or until the sauce has thickened and is looking glossy.

  • Step 5

    Mash together the softened butter and plain flour until smooth, then whisk into the gravy, then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Season and serve.

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