I am very partial to a drop of gravy. I think gravy is a very British thing (correct me if I am wrong) and one of the things that goes to make great comfort food. Good tasty gravy transforms a meal by adding flavour and moisture to what otherwise might be a tasteless piece of meat or some rather dry potatoes.
Gravy was just made to compliment Yorkshire Puddings and if you ever wanted something to cheer you up, on a dark and cold winter evening, then you need to try a plate sized Yorkshire Pudding filled with some beef sausages, a veg of your choice and mashed potatoes . . . and then fill the Yorkshire Pudding with a beef or onion gravy. Makes me want to drool just writing about it.
Of course, you can have gravy all the year round, and it works well with all sorts of roast dishes and also with something like faggots. Gravy is fairly easy to make too but in this busy day and age most of us either do not have the time or just simply cannot be bothered. It is only a matter of making a roux by using fat from the roast, or just some dripping, and bringing it to the boil whilst stirring. It takes time though, and it makes a mess of another saucepan!
If it is a special occasion then making the gravy is probably worthwhile but in a hectic life taking a shortcut by using instant gravy is certainly permitted, especially if it means a healthy tasty meal instead of something fried or done in the chip pan.
Instant gravy mixes have been around for a long time now but have been a poor substitute for the real thing. (You can always tell a good gravy by whether people sneakily use their knives to scrape up the last of it from their plate.) In recent years however food manufacturing has got better and better, with the result that some very good products are now appearing on the supermarket shelves.
My own kitchen cupboard always contains the range of Bisto instant gravies, not the ordinary stuff but the Bisto Best gravy range, which is granules.
Now another range of quality instant gravies is available, Colman's Instant Gravy. Both Bisto and Colman's state on the packaging with real meat juices. Presumably that is supposed to reassure us as to how good the product is? I have tried the Colman range at a supermarket demonstartion, not at home yet, but was sufficiently impressed to buy two of them to try out. I think there are only three in the range - chicken, onion and beef - whereas Bisto has those three flavours as well as pork and vegetable (never tried the vegetable one as not sure what I would eat it with presumably for vegetarians).
The Colman's instant gravies are in a paste form which does suggest a concentrate and seems more natural than granules. But granules are probably easier to handle and less messy. It is also easier to measure a spoonful of granules than it is a spoonful of paste but that is just nit-picking.
A handy product to keep in the kitchen cupboard and I am sure it could work well as a stock for adding to other dishes you are cooking . Will have to give it a go.
This is the chicken gravy instructions from the Colman's web site:
INSTANT CHICKEN GRAVY PASTE
Just add boiling water, stir and pour! Our new and easy way to make proper homemade gravy in an instant. It's made using real meat juices for a delicious, authentic taste. Perfect served with roast chicken and grilled meats.
Serves: 5 (of 250ml)
How to cook:
- Squeeze 2 heaped teaspoons of paste (26g) into jug.
- Add 250ml boiling water, stir continuously and thoroughly with a hand whisk for at least 30 seconds allowing to thicken.
- Add more paste for a thicker gravy!
Why not try:
Alternatively use the method above and add to the meat juices from your roast, blend and bring back to the boil.
I think the Bisto jars make slightly more gravy but I have not compared prices.
Editorial note: This site is not paid to promote any of the products or places featured in this newsletter.
There is always something happening in supermarkets - new products, product demonstrations, shelves reorganised so you can't find anything. Not always interesting, quite often boring and sometimes a chore but just occasionally something catches your eye, something is interesting . . .