All About Food: Secret to perfect gravy

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

All About Food: Secret to perfect gravy

With a few basic steps you are on the way to topping the perfect Sunday roast

Welcome to all about food. This week prepare to dazzle your friends and family with the best gravy for your Sunday roast!

Ask Gingergirl

Hello Gingergirl,

Help! I just cannot make good gravy! No matter how hard I try I can never seem to make ‘cheffy’, proper gravy! Is there some big secret I don’t know about!

I look forward to any advice you can give me.


Hello Daniel,

Gravy seems to be a stumbling block for many people - which seems to be the reason for the endless array of granules available, promising to make instant yet delicious gravy – to me the words ‘instant’ and ‘delicious’ do not work together when it comes to gravy! The truth is gravy is not that difficult to make and once you follow a few basic steps you are on the way to the perfect Sunday lunch!

To make good gravy it is simply a matter of combining the juices of the meat with a few other ingredients to make a flavoursome sauce that compliments the roast in question.

First things first, it is essential to have a good solid based roasting tin so that it can be placed directly over the heat.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can start the gravy the day before, making things a little bit easier on day two.

Perfect Gravy

15g of butter and a tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 onion, finely diced

Half a teaspoon of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of plain flour

300ml of stock (vegetable, beef or chicken stock depending on the roast)

2 tablespoons of Marsala or Madeira for beef (Port for lamb, Sherry for chicken)

Apple Jelly (you can use redcurrant jelly for lamb)

The day before: melt the butter in a saucepan with the oil and cook the onion over a very low temperature, stirring as it cooks. When the onion has softened, add the sugar and Marsala (or Port or Sherry) and let it caramelise (go a dark, golden brown) – this should take about ten minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a further two minutes.

Stir in the stock, increase the heat and bring to the boil, reduce the heat to very low again and simmer for twenty minutes. Puree in the food processor or with a stick blender, cool and refrigerate until needed.

The next day: once the roast has been removed from the roasting dish, pour off any excess fat, return the dish to a low to medium heat and add a couple of tablespoons of your chosen liqueur (Madeira, Port or Sherry). Stir continuously with a wooden spoon, scraping the sides and base of the roasting tin to release all the lovely caramelised bits. Next, simply add the prepared onion/stock mix and bring to the boil. Add the tablespoon of apple jelly and simmer until dissolved. Season to taste and serve immediately.

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