How to make this year’s gravy your best yet

  • Share this story
How to make this year's gravy your best yet

While we love gravy all-year round, come Christmas it becomes a non-negotiable. If you thought the art of making gravy was solely reserved for your granny, we’re about to show you just how easy it is to make your own.


Christmas, with all its joys, can also be stressful, especially if you’re hosting. In the run-up to the big day, it’s natural to want to do as much as possible in advance, and we’re here to tell you that gravy is one of things. Abi’s recipe below uses the basic technique of a roasted stock thickened with a roux, meaning you can store this in the fridge for up to five days ahead of time.

Get the recipe for make-ahead gravy here.

Set yourself up for success

Any basic gravy recipe will tell you that pan drippings from the bird can make or break your sauce. Those little bits stuck to the bottom are nuggets of flavour that you don’t want to lose, so how do you maximise all the drippings in the pan? Roast your bird in a pan that’s also safe to use on the stove. Something that you’re able to remove from the oven and pop straight onto a burner. This means that once you remove the roast from the dish to rest, you’ve already got all the flavour bombs sitting in the pan you’re using to make the gravy. Genius.

Flavour boosters

Have you got the gravy ready to go but finding it a little bland? The tricky thing with gravies is that their flavour can rely on the drippings from the pan, and when things don’t taste right it can be difficult to know how to fix it. If you’ve got to the finishing stages and you’re not happy with the gravy’s flavour, there are one or two flavour boosters you can fall back on. Worcestershire sauce is an obvious aid, but if you don’t have that, soya sauce works just as well, too. These are also great because they can improve the colour as well as the flavour – giving the gravy that rich colour. These will add a deep savoury saltiness, but if you find the gravy needs some brightness, a splash of white wine vinegar or some lemon will do the trick. Adding more fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary will also help to improve the all-round flavour. Lastly, whatever you do to tweak the flavour, make sure you finish your gravy by finishing it with some butter. Once you’re happy with the flavour, take it off the heat and whisk in a tablespoon or two, tasting as you go. This will meld the flavours together and take away any harshness.

Veggie options

If the meaty gravy isn’t your problem, and you’ve got a vegetarian coming for dinner, it might not be acceptable to expect them to pour chicken juices all over their vegetables. The good news is a vegetarian gravy is pretty easy to make. Using dried mushrooms, onions and a good veg stock, you’ll have a delicious sauce in no time. If the addition of the creme fraiche below sounds too extra, you can omit it and whisk in butter instead. If you find you also need to correct the flavour of this gravy, use soya sauce in place of Worcestershire as it’s not vegetarian. Miso also another fantastic way to add veggie-friendly flavour to a gravy, so be sure to whisk a teaspoon or two of that in.
How to save your gravy
Get the recipe for mushroom-and-tarragon gravy here.

Jess Spiro Article by: Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a freelance food writer, chef and restaurant critic based in Cape Town, who can often be found in search of the next great plate of food. Follow her on Instagram @jess_spiro to see what she's eating.

Social Media

You might be interested in...