Making a good Gravy and the forest of Rambouillet
Preparation time: ~30 minutes
Happy, er, Monday everyone. The start of a brand new week! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are all set for the week ahead! As I mentioned in my previous post, I went off on Sunday for a little picnic in the forest of Rambouillet. I had rather been hoping for good weather; forests never look better as when they have beautiful rays of sunshine streaking through the branches. The weather was not on my side this time alas – a brisk wind, grey skies and occasional spots of rain made the idea of a picnic out amongst the trees rather unlikely, but damnit, I’m British. A bit of rain never ruined my fun so I scuttled off to the kitchen to grill my chicken, whip up the potato salad and make my garlic bread.
We loaded it all into the car with some coffee and books and off we went – still hoping that it would magically become hot and sunny by the time we arrived at the spot, just outside of the picturesque little village of Gambaiseuil. Once there, unsurprisingly, the weather had not turned, so we enjoyed the food in the car and then decided to go off for a little walk down the road. Despite the chill breeze it was lovely to see the blossom trees, budding leaves and even bluebells on the grassy banks.
Having enjoyed the sights a bit we decided it was about time to make our way back, and as we did, wouldn’t you believe it – out comes the sun. Typical!
For today’s recipe I thought that since I’ve posted roast potatoes, roast beef and Yorkshire puddings too I may as well post a recipe for gravy too. The addition of a good gravy can turn a roast dinner from a good meal into a great meal and is especially important on top of Yorkshire puds – they do seem perfectly formed as gravy containers anyway, don’t they?
Someone asked me in my Yorkshire puddings post if I ever use Bisto – instant gravy in granule form. I’ll admit to having used this once or twice in the past, though nothing can beat a home-made version. Ideally, this isn’t something you can knock up on the spur of the moment. You need to plan for this at the same time as you’re putting the meat into the oven, if not the night before. I like to marinate my roast beef overnight with plenty of garlic, olive oil, red wine and onion. The next day, I put my meat into the oven and then save the marinade for the gravy at the end. Not only this, but an excellent tip when roasting meat – any meat – is to ensure it doesn’t actually touch the roasting pan. Having the meat touching the roasting pan will result in burning and bits of meat stuck to the pan – no-one wants that. I slice up an onion into three pieces and place it on the bottom of the pan. Place the meat on top and roast as normal, and then by the time the meat is done and resting, you have a delicious roasted onion to add to your gravy!
Another important ingredient is good stock – you should use a good, home-made vegetable or meat stock. If you have to use a bouillon cube, just remember that they usually contain a lot of salt and will impact the final flavour! Enjoy your awesome gravy and have a wonderful week – see you back here on Thursday for a tasty dessert!
Making a good Gravy
- 500ml of good, home-made stock
- Roasted onion, garlic, carrot etc – anything laid under the meat while it roasts
- Leftover marinade made from red wine, crushed garlic, onion etc
- Meat juices from the roast
- 1 tbsp Flour
- Once your meat is roasted in the oven, remove it from the oven and allow it to stand while you take the onion which was roasted underneath the meat. Place into a saucepan with any vegetables from the marinade – garlic, carrot and so forth. Add in the flour and heat through, stirring well until the flour is well mixed with the vegetables. Add in the stock and the meat juices and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the gravy has reduced down and thickened and then strain, before serving up!