Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Get ahead Christmas: Jamie's gravy

Dear Reader, I thought I would start this post with a confession. I have more than a soft spot for Jamie Oliver. It was his recipes that got me interested in trying to cook new and different things. Before then I was very much a family cook in the same ilk as my Mum, but Jamie made things like Thai Green Curry and risotto accessible. I was still in the concious competence stage of learning to cook and believed I needed every ingredient and to follow recipes to the letter. Oh how times have changed. What hasn't has the soft spot for the Naked Chef. Whether he's revamping school dinners, or working with young people at Fifteen, I admire his social awareness, as well as his cooking. Oddly during the riots in the summer, I nearly got caught up in them by wanting to go and eat at his Italian in Birmigham, thankfully a burly Police Officer dissuaded me of that plan!

So Saturday afternoon just gone I was found bashing 7 bells out of chicken wings, veg and spices in the name of Jamie's gravy. Mum had wanted to try it, and when I read that you could make it ahead and freeze it I was won over. Whilst as I've already said this week, that Christmas dinner is just a roast - albeit as one commenter mentions, with a paper hat - getting things done ahead of time will reduce the amount of space I need on the oven or hob, which is a huge tick when you're working in a tiny kitchen, and also it's one less thing to worry about. I just need to get it out of the freezer the night before and heat it through with the turkey juices for extra flavour. That said, if you don't fancy any faffing on Christmas day it really doesn't need it, this gravy really packs a punch.

I haven't got a copy of the recipe to hand, and made 2 batches together so this makes a lot - I would say enough for 12-16 (more if you're feeding littlies) the Pantry take on Jamie's Gravy.

Jamie & Penelope's festive gravy

2 onions, peeled and quartered
4 sticks celery roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
Handful of rosemary sprigs
Handful of sage leaves
Some bay leaves (fresh if you have a bay tree. Santa, if you're listening?)
16 chicken wings, bashed a bit
Olive Oil
8 tablespoons flour (I used cornflour, that's just what we had, I wasn't being cheffy!)
4 litres water, recently boiled
120 ml sherry

Put the veg and herbs in a roasting tin, and top with the bashed up chicken wings (I put them in a sandwich bag and hit them with a rolling pin)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil
Cook in a gas mark 6 oven for about an hour - until it's nicely cooked but not burnt. In Mum's oven this took an hour and a half
Put your roasting tin on the hob, and light a burner. With a potato masher bash 7 bells out of the contents of the roasting tin, until it's pretty much a mush. I kept turning the roasting tin around as one burner didn't heat all of it, and two was too much for me to manage.
Add your flour and keep bashing until it's all combined
Add the water and sherry and stir in so that everything is all covered
Turn up the heat, bring to a gentle boil
Turn down the heat and simmer for about half an hour
I was shattered then, so we covered it and left it overnight before draining through first a colander and then a seive into large bowls.
This made 4 pints of amazing gravy. We froze them in freezer bags flat so they take up less room in the freezer and defrost quickly.

A note from mum and I, this smelt (so I'm told) amazing at the end of roasting, and I could easily have eaten it as a dinner. I suspect it's going to taste like a roast dinner in itself. It's thick and luscious.

Another note, if you used thighs not wings and stopped after roasting this would make an amazingly simple and tasty dinner.

Another another note, if you stripped the meat off the bones after cooking and blitzed with a stick blender, then added the water this would make the most amazingly healing soup.

Because of room, I'm just going to heat this through and add a few spoons of turkey juices to it, but mum is going to reheat hers in the turkey pan (after draining off the fat) I have no doubt hers will be amazing, but I'm going for the easy to manage with one working arm option.

Apologies for lack of photos, but mushed up veg really isn't that pretty. I'll work on that.


hungryandfrozen said...

I like that it's Jamie AND Penelope's :D and agree that it's good to get things planned early. See, with my Christmas party last week I thought I could do gravy on the day but didn't end up having the time or energy - if only I'd got cracking in advance! Love that this one has rosemary in it, I love that herb.

Am not the biggest fan of Jamie Oliver, but I love his early books - I found them so exciting compared to anything I'd read prior to that. That's awesome that he inspired you to cook lots of different things.

Fuss Free Helen said...

Oh! Yum. Bet to make a batch and freeze to put into risottos would be an excellent idea too.

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