Now that we’re into December I reckon I’m going to allow myself to think about Christmas dinner.
Yeah. And better still, the left-over sandwich later that evening and again on Boxing Day, packed with all the meats, cranberry sauce, stuffing, a touch of cheese and then fried in real butter until the bread is golden and your mouth is watering with anticipation and a near madness form of gluttony.
I don’t think I’ve had a fried sandwich since last Christmas and that fact alone will make this year’s all the more enticing.
But to take your Christmas sarnie to the next level (we’re talking celestial here folks), you’ll want two things on the side.
Number One: Crisps.
And Number Two: Gravy for dipping.
The crisps are particularly important if you’re not frying the bread because they’ll add that extra texture not to mention the added decadence.
But a ramekin of gravy blasted in the microwave into which you can dunk your Christmas wedge… that’s what the Angels will be doing after their Christmas night out.
Anyhoo, this week’s recipe is for Knock-out Gravy, so-called because you’ll knock the person that throws it out before you’ve had your left-over sarnie. These things happen. So be aware.
This is also (obviously) the gravy that you’ll want to have with your Christmas dinner. And not a packet of Bisto in sight.
• all the giblets (neck, heart etc)
• 1 carrot
• 1 onion
• water, about a pint
• 2 heaped tbsp of plain flour
• juices from the roasted turkey
• chicken, turkey or vegetable stock, about a pint and a half, possibly more
Don’t even think of being squeamish with the giblets. There’s so much flavour packed into those meats, it’s a sin not to dig it out.
First of all, put the giblets into a saucepan with the carrot and onion and cover with water, about a pint or so. Bring to a simmer, and let it bubble for an hour.
Now, ideally, you’re making this gravy on Christmas morning, though you can have your giblets cooked from the night before.
On the morn, when the turkey is roasted and golden and all the rest, remove from the roasting pan and set aside.
Pour off all the juices into a sauce pan and set those aside also. You need to let these sit until they separate.
The fat will rise to the top and the drippings (for want of a better word) will remain at the bottom. When this happens, ladle or pour the fat into another bowl.
If you haven’t already, remove the giblets from the stock water, discarding the carrot and onion. And put that pan back on the boil to reduce.
Bubble this down to a cupful or so. Put the roasting tin on the hob (you might even have to fire up two rings) and on a medium heat add four/five tablespoons of the turkey fat.
As it heats and sizzles, with a wooden spoon, scrape away at the roasting pan to dislodge all those little caramelised bits that are stuck to the bottom. There’s lots of flavour in those bits.
Next add the plain flour, sprinkling it around the pan and keep stirring and scraping. You want to make a kind of paste, loose but not too greasy. So you can add more fat or flour as necessary.
Keep stirring for a few minutes, cooking out the flour and until the mixture turns a nutty brown. When this happens grab your whisk and add the drippings which you have cunningly reserved, the giblet stock and half the extra chicken stock.
Whisk like Billy-o would whisk if he was making the gravy and as it comes to the simmer, it’ll thicken up. If it’s too thick, which it likely will be, add more of the stock to thin it down and keep going until it’s smooth and has the consistency of… well…. Gravy.
If you run out of stock and it’s too thick still, a jag of water from the kettle will help you out.
At this stage you could sieve it (if you have the Royal family around for dinner) but I’d say there will be plenty of other stuff to be at on Christmas morning.
Lastly, you can go down one of two routes, but the choice is up to you. You can a). Season the gravy and you’re done. Or, b). Pick off all the meat from the giblets, chop into small pieces and stir this through the gravy. This is for maximum affect.
However, if there are picky people in the house, they may baulk at a lumpy gravy, especially if you tell them what the lumps are.
And that’s it. Re-heat before serving. But remember to retain a small amount for sarnie dipping later on.
A fried sarnie, too.
O-yeah, come all ye faithful…
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