Make-ahead gravy

5 from 1 reviews

No need to wait until Christmas dinner to prepare your gravy. Make it days or even weeks beforehand.

Barely tweaked from a Jamie Oliver recipe.


  • 2 celery sticks, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly sliced
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 star anise (optional - the flavour is quite strong)
  • 2 rashers smoked, streaky bacon
  • 8 chicken wings
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 60ml (4 tablespoons) sherry or port (optional)
  • 2 heaped dessertspoons of cranberry sauce (from a jar is fine)

You will also need -

a sturdy bottomed, deep roasting tin


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC Fan/400ºF (gas mark 6).
  2. Put the vegetables, herbs and star anise into a sturdy bottomed roasting tray. Scatter the bacon on top.
  3. Break the chicken wings open then put them onto a board and bash the bones up with the end of a rolling pin; this will release more of their flavour. Now add them to the tin, drizzling with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss everything together and roast in the oven for 1 hour or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
  4. Take the tin out of the oven and put it on the hob over a low heat and use a potato masher to really grind and mash everything up. Keep mashing, moving and scraping all the goodness from the bottom of the pan as you go.
  5. Gradually mix in the flour to thicken the mixture.
  6. When the flour is combined, pour in 2 litres of hot water, turn the heat up and bring to the boil for 10 minutes until thickened. Then turn down the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry or port now.
  7. When it's reached the consistency you're looking for, check the seasoning and then push it through a sieve into a large bowl. You will need to really push and mash everything through so that you get as much flavour as possible. Discard the bits that are left behind.
  8. Allow the gravy to cool to room temperature and then put into containers or freezer bags and pop it into the freezer.
  9. When you are ready to use the gravy, thoroughly defrost it and then warm gently on the hob in a saucepan. Add any juices from the turkey if you wish and stir through the cranberry sauce for a final flourish.

Keywords: festive, make ahead, turkey