Mmm, gravy. You could use granules. You could use a pot or sachet from the supermarket. You could rely on deglazing the pan with stock made from a cube. But this is christmas and the absolute best thing to have on the table is lots and lots of rich, deeply flavoured, piping hot gravy, made from scratch (and from happy birds).
Hopefully, you've got some giblets from your goose / chicken / turkey / other christmas birdie. Take the liver out and put aside, you can eat it separately pan fried on toast but it makes gravy bitter so don't include it (it looks like this).
Along with the giblets, put a few chicken wings, necks or even just old carcasses, into a large saucepan. Most butchers will sell you wings and necks for gravy, abel and cole also sells them, I also keep a load of bones in the freezer for use in stocks.
To these, add a quartered onion, a couple of bay leaves, some parsley stalks, a couple of broken carrots, a couple of broken celery sticks and about 10 peppercorns. Cover with cold water (a couple of pints / a litre) and pop on the hob. Bring to the boil then turn down and simmer for a good couple of hours. Keep tasting it, and don't take it off the heat until it has reduced down and has a good flavour (remembering that there's no salt in it yet though, so don't expect it to taste "finished").
Strain it into a jug and either skim off the fat or use a fat separator jug - I found one in the kleeneze catalogue and found it really useful. Leave it to cool and pop in the fridge, covered with clingfilm, until ready to make your gravy.
When you get your bird out of the oven and put it aside to rest, pop the roasting tray on the hob and add the stock to it (if it's been in the fridge it will be jellified, that's a good thing!). To this add a slosh of wine (red or white, your choice) and a spoonful of redcurrant jelly. Get it bubbling and burn off the booze, scraping the bottom of the tin to get all the caramelised bird juices into the mix. Result = awesome gravy.
Serve piping hot in a really twee gravy boat.
Go to the Christmas Dinner (2011) post