21 December 2013

Roast Vegetable Gravy - a.k.a. The Last Gravy Recipe You'll Ever Need

For better or for worse, everyone has a signature dish for which they are known.  Gourmands may be recognized for something spectacular such as tartare, artisan bread or decadent chocolates.  Others are known for frozen pizza, refrigerated crescent rolls or the ever popular blue box mac & cheese.  Be they on the high or low end of the spectrum, the hubs and I enjoy all of these food items on occasion.  As for me....well, I'm not exactly sure of where I fall on this spectrum for I am known for a holiday condiment.

Ladies and gents, I make a mean gravy.  Yes, that side that is often passed right along the dinner table with a "I prefer cranberry, thanks" is possibly what I do best.  Guests at holiday dinners ask if I will be making gravy before they consent to come.  I've converted haters to lovers, a side into an all-star.  And best of all, this is possibly the easiest recipe in the history of the world.  No whisking or flour lumps to worry about, no blandly pale sauce that looks suspiciously like seasoned chocolate milk.  Just rich, deep, gorgeous gravy with so much flavor it needs to be watered down.  Yes, that is gravy.  AAAAAAAND it's completely gluten free.  Awesome perk for my step-father who so rarely gets to enjoy this fantastic savory side.

The first time I enjoyed this gravy was four years ago at my aunt's house for Thanksgiving.  I watched in awe as she made the sauce in the bottom of the roasting pan with an emulsion blender by just adding water to vegetables.  Wait, that's all?  Uh, yeah.  It's kind of crazy ridiculous easy.  And crazy ridiculous delish.  I made it at Friendsgiving the following Saturday night and that's where my reputation as a gravy master was born.  So thanks Aunt Linda!

If you can chop and pour water, you can make this gravy.  Just toss a few carrots with a couple stalks of celery, one onion and a cored apple into the bottom of the roasting pan with a few cloves of garlic, then roast __________ as you normally would.  Of course this is made with turkey every Thanksgiving, but it's also wonderful with duck, chicken or lamb.  We're doing a beef roast this year for Christmas and this will absolutely be made along with it.  The vegetables are roasted to fragrant and savory perfection in the drippings from your protein, whatever it may be.  The end result is a fabulously deep, rich gravy that pairs perfectly with the main dish because, after all, they were cooked together!

Now you may be thinking that it sounds delicious, but you're not quite sure how it will pair with a particular glaze or basting ingredient.  I've thought the exact same thing.  This year we made a bourbon and brown sugar glazed turkey for Thanksgiving and I was super nervous that it would turn out either too sweet or too boozy.  Happily, it was neither.  The rich flavor of the roasted vegetables still shone through with glory for an excellent gravy that we enjoyed for weeks afterwards (I may have doubled the recipe below...for two people.  No big deal.)  It was also awesome with a blueberry and fennel stuffed duck based in simple broth.  You can cook with confidence knowing that whatever you prepare, this gravy will a delicious parter in culinary crime.

Everyone needs to try this recipe at least once.  I guarantee that you'll be hooked by both the amazing flavor and the ease of preparation.  Just chop, place in the pan and add water as needed to keep the veggies moist.  Consider this my holiday gift to you, and enjoy the last gravy recipe you'll never need.

Hurry up Christmas!!!!  Ineedgravyrightnow.

Roast Vegetable Gravy (serves 6-8)
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1 apple
  • 4 whole cloves garlic
  • 2 c chicken or vegetable broth
  • protein of choice

Wash the celery and carrots, then cut the vegetables into thirds.  Quarter and core the apple, then quarter the onion.  Place all the vegetables, apple, garlic and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan.  Prepare your bird or roast as desired and place in the rack above the vegetables.  Cook the protein according to your recipe, adding a cup of water every time the bottom of the pan is dry.  

While the bird or roast rests, pour the contents of the roasting pan - vegetables, apple, drippings and all - into a mixing bowl or blender (or use an immersion blender - great option for one less dish to wash).  Blend together, adding water as needed, until gravy reaches desired consistency.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or freeze and thaw when needed.  

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