The one thing that no roast dinner can go without is some homemade gravy. I consider myself a bit of a gravy snob and refuse to use the granules or powders for a large gathering. I think when you are cooking in a flash, they are perfect, but when entertaining your guests deserve nothing but the best.
I have actually come up with the recipe over the Thanksgiving season, but have continued to use it for all of my gravy needs. It is time consuming, but the results are killer. This recipe is enough to feed 6-8 people. Let’s go shopping:
*2 Large Containers of Beef Stock
*1 Large (or 2 small) Bulbs of Fennel
*1 Large White Onion
*2 Cloves of Garlic
*1 Cup of White Cooking Wine
*All Purpose Flour (for thickening)
*Salt and Pepper for tasting
Now here is what you do. In a pot that can handle all of the above ingredients, bring the white cooking wine and beef stock to a boil. While this is getting underway, chop or blitz the garlic, onion and fennel. Use all of the fennel including the fronds, just taking off the tips and base.
Once all of these are chopped finely, add them to the boiling mixture on the stove. Grind in some salt and pepper and leave it at a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to a low boil and leave on the stove for 2-3 hours. What you will find is that the mixture will reduce by about a third….that is the prime fraction.
When reduced, liquidize the mixture. I like to use an immersion mixer, but you can use a blender, food processor…whatever. This will result in a smooth mixture. At this point I would add a bit more white wine or broth if it is too thick. If it is a good consistency, take out about a 1/2 cup of the mixture and place in a mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon of flour to this mixture and whisk heartily. This is a great trick when making a sauce that you need to thicken as it removes the opportunity for lumps.
Once this is smooth, incorporate it into the rest of the gravy. 9 times out of 10, you need gravy because you are roasting meat, so when the meat is finished, take the drippings and add them to the gravy. How much should you add? Enough for it to be tasty but not greasy. There is NOTHING worse than greasy gravy. I like mine thick, but you can make it as thin as you want by skipping the flour or adding more liquid. Either way, it is some tasty gravy…enjoy!