11 Top Chefs Share Their Homemade Gravy Tips

11 Top Chefs Share Their Homemade Gravy Tips

Is there any more gravy? It’s the question that will be heard at Christmas tables across the nation – because there’s nothing worse than a dry roast. But that also means you’ve got to get the gravy right. Thankfully, some of London’s top chefs have given us their top tips ahead of the big day…

Adam Byatt, Trinity 

“Once you’ve removed the cooked meat to rest on a tray, reserve the roasting pan. Tip away the majority of the fat; add a chopped onion, carrot and stick of celery, and place back over a medium flame. After a few minutes, add a medium spoon of flour. Cook this for two minutes. Add two glasses of red wine, a dash of red wine vinegar and a splash of Worcestershire sauce – reduce this liquid by half and add some lovely homemade stock from the freezer. A stock cube will do – it just won’t be as good! Simply top up with water, transfer to a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. The turkey will have some liquid on its resting tray – add this, along with a spoon full of cranberry sauce. Finish by passing the gravy through a sieve and serve in a jug.”

Visit TrinityRestaurant.co.uk

Greg Marchand, Frenchie 

“A light, delicate jus is preferable to a heavy, thick, floury gravy – one with a lot of flavour. Roast the meat bones until they are golden brown, then cook in water with vegetables, tomato purée, herbs for seven hours on a very, very low heat – so it simmers and doesn’t boil. Pass it through a sieve, then reduce until it’s the right consistency. Season with a bit of acid – whether wine or vinegar – and add some delicate herbs at the last minute.”

Visit FrenchieCoventGarden.com

Alex Head, Social Pantry

“Once the meat is cooked, place it on a chopping board and cover with foil and a tea towel to keep the heat in as it rests. Put a jug in the oven to warm and place the roasting tin on the hob, on a low heat, and – using a spoon – scrape all the delicious crunchy bits and any fat into the gravy. Add in a dessert spoon of plain flour and a teaspoon of Marmite, and whisk. Keep whisking until all the flour has been mixed in and the gravy is thick and smooth. Have hot veggie water or a boiled kettle to hand to keep adding in if it gets too thick. Alternatively, keep reducing it on the heat to thicken it more. Keep tasting the gravy, season, but go easy on the salt with the Marmite. A splash of red wine adds that perfect finishing touch!”

Visit SocialPantry.co.uk

Wesley Smalley, Oriental Club 

“Starting with the perfect stock is the difference between a rich gravy with depth of flavour and a watery, bland one. Add a tablespoon of butter and flour to the roasting tray left over from roasting the meat – this will make a quick roux. Then add the stock bit by bit, stirring continuously until you get the desired consistency.”

Visit OrientalClub.org.uk

Josh Hooper, Bistro Union

“A chicken should always be roasted with lots of white wine, chicken stock, onion, thyme, garlic, lemon and butter in the roasting tray. That way, once the bird is cooked and rested, there’s a decent amount of delicious liquid to pass off and use as the gravy. It won’t be as thick as traditional gravy, but simply reduce it a bit and emulsify in butter to give it a silky consistency.”

Visit BistroUnion.co.uk

Tom Cook, Smith & Wollensky

“Try making a veal stock ahead of time. First, roast the bones in a hot oven until golden brown, then remove and drain any fat off them, before using the fat to roast some vegetables, such as onion, carrot, leek, celery and garlic. Put everything into a large pan with a few sprigs of thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and a few peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to the boil, before turning down to a simmer. Allow this to cook for about five to six hours, then strain through a fine sieve. Once reduced, there's an amazing base for the sauce on Christmas Day. On the day itself, remove the meat from the roasting tray, and tip away any excess fat. Deglaze with a splash of white wine and reduce it to burn off the alcohol, then add the pre-made veal stock, bring to the boil and scrape off any meaty parts left on the tray. Allow to simmer for five minutes and strain through a fine sieve.”

Visit SmithAndWollensky.co.uk

Tom Booton, The Grill at The Dorchester

“Always use the roasting juices as a base, and throw in a generous splash of Madeira, sherry or soy sauce to make the gravy doubly tasty. To thicken, rub together 50g of flour and 50g of butter, and mix into the gravy to thicken. Cornflour works well too.”

Vist TheDorchester.com

Rudi Warner, Blueprint Café 

“Caramelise some shallots and button mushrooms in a generous amount of butter until it starts to foam and turn a nutty brown. Add some Madeira, followed by roasted chicken stock, along with all the roasting juices from the turkey. Reduce this by about one-third, then add a little crushed garlic and thyme. Infuse this for about five minutes before straining with a sieve. My secret ingredient to thicken gravy is arrowroot. It's possible to use flour or cornflour, but using arrowroot leaves the gravy clear. Simply mix about 50g of arrowroot with 50ml of cold water and whisk it into the sauce. It will thicken after a minute or two of simmering. It can be a little long to do at home, but it will taste really nice.”

Visit BlueprintCafe.co.uk

Behzad Gotla, Butlers Wharf Chop House

“Start by using the roasting juices and trimmings from the turkey to make a good-quality turkey stock. Turkey can be quite a bland flavour on its own, so it's critical to create a balance of all the flavour components to maximise the flavour of the gravy. Add a splash of Madeira for an element of sweetness and chuck in a splash of lemon juice to add acidity; then finish it all off with some good-quality butter to make it smooth and velvety.”

Visit ChophouseRestaurant.co.uk

Kirk Haworth, Plates London

“There are plenty of ways to make plant-based gravy stand out. Think about adding some really well-caramelised brown onions or a spoonful of good-quality black rice miso. It’s a good idea to consider some classic winter aromas too, such as star anise, juniper berries, black pepper, and winter herbs such as thyme, bay leaf and tarragon. Finally, work with a really good-quality vegetable stock and no-sulphite white wine."

Visit PlatesLondon.com

Steve Groves, Roux at Parliament Square

“Save time and make it in advance, then finish with the roasting juices on the day. A top tip is to buy in some chicken wings and roast them to form the base of the gravy. The key bit is that delicious chicken caramel that forms on the bottom of the roasting pan. Make lots and make it thick, so guests don’t end up with soggy stuffing!”

Visit RouxAPS.com

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