Real Gravy

Makes about 570ml

This recipe is adapted from Delia's Complete How to Cook

Real Gravy
 1 rounded tablespoon sauce flour or plain flour
 570ml hot stock (potato or other vegetable water or marigold bouillion for example) but the exact amount will depend on how thick you like your gravy
 salt and pepper
Equipment: You will also need a solid-based flameproof roasting tin


First of all remove the meat or poultry from the roasting tin. Place the tin over a gentle direct heat, and have a bowl ready, then tilt the tin and you will see quite clearly the fat separating from the darker juices.

So now you need to spoon off the fat into the bowl using a tablespoon, but remember, you need to leave 1-1½ tablespoons of fat, along with all the juices, in the tin.

Now let the fat and juices begin to bubble, turn the heat up to medium, use a wooden spoon to scrape all the crusty bits from the base of the tin, adding a rounded tablespoon of sauce flour. Then using circular movements, with the wooden spoon, blend it into the fat, juices and crusty bits as quickly as you can.

Speed is of the essence – gentle, faint-hearted stirring is not what’s needed here: you should be mixing in the manner of a speeded up film!

When the flour is absorbed you will have a smooth paste, so now begin to add the hot stock, a little at a time, whisking briskly and blending after each addition. Now switch to a balloon whisk and you will find that, as the stock is added, and it reaches simmering point, the gravy will have thickened.

Now your own preference comes into play. If the gravy is too thin, let it bubble and reduce a little; if it's too thick, add a little more liquid. If you want to improve the colour just add a drop of gravy browning and just whisk it in.

Finally, taste and season with salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Then pour the gravy into a warmed jug ready for the table.

For pork, which has pale juices, add onion to the roasting tin. This will caramelise during cooking and give colour to the juices. The onion may also be used with other joints and poultry to give colour.

For lamb, add a teaspoon of mustard powder with the flour, a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly to melt into the gravy, and some red wine to add body.

For duck, add the grated zest and juice of a small orange, along with a glass of port.

For beef, add a wineglass of Sercial Madeira – this enriches the beef flavour magically.

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