I used to think I made good gravy. I’d boil the neck and giblets of a duck or turkey then thicken it with pureed liver. Well, the gravy would always be good but, recently, I discovered how much better it can be. A week or so before Christmas, TLC aired Jamie Oliver’s Christmas specials and Speedy saw one episode where Jamie made his get-ahead gravy. He told me about it, I waited for a replay and after seeing how de did it, I had to agree that his method made a lot of sense — and a whole lot of concentrated flavors.
A few days before Christmas, I made my version of his get-ahead gravy and froze the gravy base in preparation for the turkey that we would roast for a family party at our house. I went a step farther too as I finished my gravy by stirring in some homemade liver paté. As it turned out, the gravy was so delicious that we consumed half of what went into the freezer before the party took place.
The trick? Don’t rely on the turkey’s or duck’s neck and giblets. Make a gravy base with lots of bones, vegetables, spices and herbs. I wasn’t even a fan of celery until I made my version of Jamie Oliver’s get-ahead gravy. Now, I’m a convert. I even make my homemade broth with celery stalks. The layers of flavor are simply out of this world.
- chicken cuts, necks and wings are ideal, about a kilo (if you have ham bone, add it too)
3 onions, quartered
a whole garlic, divided into segments
1 tbsp. of peppercorns
4 celery stalks (leaves included), cut into shorter pieces
2 to 3 carrots, diced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
about 3 c. of water
about 3 c. of white wine
- Preheat the oven to 325F.Place the chicken pieces in a single layer at the bottom of a baking dish. Scatter the vegetables, spices and herbs over them. Sprinkle with salt. Pour in just enough water and wine to cover everything in liquid.
Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and slow bake the chicken and vegetables for about an hour and a half.
Scoop out the chicken and set aside (the meat makes a great chicken salad). Cool the vegetables and liquid. Pour into a blender. Puree. Sieve through two layers of fine cloth. Pour into individual bowls and freeze. You now have your gravy base. When you need your gravy, take out and thaw only as many containers as you need.
To finish the gravy, reheat and adjust the seasonings. Stir in some liver paté (a tablespoonful of liver paté per cup of gravy base works for me) until smooth.
Cooking time (duration):1 hours and 45 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 4 cups
Meal type: sauce