You might think it’s insane to make the Christmas gravy so far ahead of time. If so, then you’re probably someone who visits relatives at Christmas and has the dinner served to you so you think it all just happens. But if you’ve ever played any part in making a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings then you’ll know that anything that can be made ahead of time, should be.
This is essentially Jamie Oliver’s recipe for make-ahead gravy. I say “recipe” though it’s actually more of a suggested method that I use in that I don’t stick rigidly to his ingredients, I just use what’s in the fridge. I do make sure to buy in a few bits, like the streaky, smoked bacon, the fresh sage and the chicken wings.
I’ve been making this gravy for the last few years now, maybe 5 years, but this year was the first year when I tasted it at the end when I didn’t just taste a really nice gravy but I actually tasted Christmas. So I guess that’s how long it takes a tradition to form.
This recipe is very straightforward. Just roast your ingredients, then mash them up, boil them and strain them. You only really need to be careful when it comes to seasoning. If you are planning to add this to the turkey juices, I would season sparingly while making this and then add more on the day when the juices are added as depending on how you cook your turkey, a lot of extra salt or flavours might find their way in. If you do not intend to add the turkey juices to this then season to taste now.
- 1 Kg Chicken wings
- 250 g smoked streaky bacon
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 4 sticks of celery
- 2 onions, quartered
- Cloves from 2 small garlic bulbs
- 2 and a half star anise
- 3 sprigs of sage
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- 20 small bay leaves, halved
- 1 tsp salt
- 1tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 L hot water
- Break all the bones in the chicken wings and add to a wide roasting dish that can also be heated on the hob/stove.
- Add all the other ingredients except the flour and water and mix well.
- Roast at 200 degrees Celsius for about an hour.
- Transfer to the hob and put it on a medium heat and allow to fry while mashing with a potato masher.
- Add the flour and mix to combine.
- Add the hot water and bring to the boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer for a half an hour.
- Season to taste and pass through a fine sieve.
- Allow to cool and freeze until Christmas morning.
- Allow to thaw, heat it up and either serve as is or add it to the turkey juices.