In conversation with BBC Good Food’s Mallika Basu, Jamie claimed that he ditches some customs for a more transformative feast.
One of his most surprising “secrets” was that the preparation for the Christmas dinner starts weeks before – but it doesn’t involve fruit cake or turkey.
His first point of call is to make a start on the meaty, savoury sauce known as gravy.
Jamie revealed: “My Christmas dinner is a classic British roast on steroids. Two weeks before, it’s get ahead gravy day.”
When it comes to the exact recipe for his pre-prepared gravy, the chef noted that water and granules should be avoided at all costs. He suggested swapping H2O for wine and adding a few other simple ingredients.
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Jamie Oliver’s gravy recipe
For 1litre of gravy:
- Two onions
- Two carrots
- Two sticks celery
- Two rashers smoked streaky bacon
- Two fresh bay leaves
- Two sprigs fresh sage
- Two sprigs fresh rosemary
- Two star anise
- 10 chicken wings
- Olive oil
- 60ml of sherry or port (optional)
- Four tablespoons plain flour
- Two tablespoons cranberry sauce
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How to make Jamie’s gravy
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ Gas 6, then peel the onions and wash the carrots thoroughly.
Roughly chop them up along with the celery and bacon rashers, then move onto the herbs. Put the vegetables, bay leaves, sage, rosemary and star anise into a sturdy, high-sided roasting tray, then scatter the chopped bacon on top.
Tear open the chicken wings and bash with a rolling pin to burst the flavours and throw into the roasting tray.
Top with a drizzle of oil, plenty of salt and pepper, then toss to combine everything before cooking it in the oven for one hour.
Once cooked, move the contents of the pan into a large saucepan over low heat on the hob. Mash everything together with a mashing tool, scraping everything up from the bottom and sides of the pan.
Jamie claimed that the longer everything is left to fry, the darker the gravy will be. If using the sherry or port, add this in now and allow everything to cook away for a few minutes.
Gradually stir on the flour followed by two litres of boiling water straight from the kettle. Simmer this in the pan for half an hour, or until the gravy has reduced to a thick sauce, stirring occasionally.
Sieve the gravy into a large container when it looks a good consistency, pushing all the coarse pieces through it with the back of a spoon. Cool to room temperature then pop into the fridge or freezer ready to finish off on Christmas day.
If frozen, allow the gravy to defrost while the turkey cooks in the oven. Add it to the tray the meat has cooked in after scraping any fat from the pan once the turkey has finished resting.
Heat over the stove once the gravy and turkey juices come to a boil, then stir in the cranberry sauce just before removing it from the heat. Strain through a sieve into a pan and leave it on the lowest heat until it’s ready to serve, taking care to skim away extra fat from the top and add the turkey juices.
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