Here is it, my first recipe ever! Well, perhaps not my first recipe ever, but certainly the first time I have bothered to include one of my creations on my blog!
One of the things I miss most about working in a commercial kitchen is the sauces, and the world of flavour that this opens up. This is truly the thing that separates home cooking from restaurants. After much trial and error, I have come up with a cheats version of beef gravy that can easily be done at home, in less time than it takes to roast the meat! (FYI, beef/veal stock in restaurants is prepared over a number of days in an exhaustive process that is more about time than effort.)
You will need:
2 large brown onions;
2 large carrots;
2 large portobello or field mushrooms;
75ml (half a glass) of red wine – Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon work best with their bold flavours;
2 litres of beef stock (available in liquid form from any supermarket);
75g plain flour;
8-10 sprigs of thyme;
2 bay leaves;
(Herbs always add extra flavour, but are not absolutely necessary to make this sauce a success. If you have these readily available, or growing in your garden, this is a perfect opportunity to use them.)
Cut onions and carrots in half, leaving the skins, cores and everything intact.
Using a BBQ, or heavy based pan or saucepan, put the cut side down and cook until blackened, without turning (an outdoor BBQ is clearly the best option in the home kitchen!). Also include the whole mushrooms in this process, although do not worry if they do not blacken as much as the other veg.
Once blackened, add to a large pot with the stock, wine and optional herbs. Boil until reduced by half. Strain the reduced liquid to remove the vegetables.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes together and the raw flour is cooked. This is the “roux” that is used to thicken the sauce.
Add 1-2 ladles of the reduced stock to the roux and whisk, removing any lumps. Once combined, stir this mixture into the rest of the stock, and bring to the boil to thicken the sauce.
Serve on top, the side and everywhere else you care to slather this delicious sauce!
Look at that amazing piece of meat ready for roasting: