If you don’t have access to the rendered fatty juices which have oozed from the roasting flesh of a recently slaughtered animal, making a decent gravy can be quite a challenge. A vegetarian gravy requires time and attention to build up a sufficient depth of flavour, so I suggest you make this in advance and/or multiply the quantities and freeze the surplus.
By the way, here’s wishing a slightly belated happy Christmas to all our reader(s).
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 – 60 minutes
Makes: 500ml (ish)
Skill level: easy
- 1 onion – finely chopped
- 2 carrots – finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery – finely chopped
- butter – a much as you dare
- fresh herbs such as thyme and parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic – roughly chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- tomato puree – 1 tbsp
- plain flour – 1 heaped tbsp
- red wine – glass
- port – slug
- s and p
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed, high-sided frying pan.
Add the onion, celery and carrots and stir.
Next add the herbs, bay leaves, garlic, tomato puree, salt and a generous twist of black pepper.
Cook over a medium heat (stirring regularly) for 20–30 minutes. You want the vegetables to be caramelised and reduced almost to a marmelade. You may have to add a little water if it looks like it might stick and burn.
Add the flour and stir.
Pour in the glass of wine and stir for a minute or two.
Next add some water (about 500ml) and stir.
Bring to a simmer and cook for another 20–30 minutes – the idea is to extract all the flavour from the vegetables.
You should now have a thick dark lush gravy.
Pass this mixture through a sieve into a bowl – squash with the back of a ladle to extract all the juice and flavour.
Drop in a few knobs of butter and stir until silky smooth.
Add a slug of port.
Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
Either reheat or allow to cool and freeze.
Verdict: A sweet rich gravy which went perfectly with both salmon en croute and dry-brined roast turkey.
Drink: A Christmas dinner trio of fizzy, red and dessert.
Entertainment: Disappointing crackers.