Jane Devonshire's Christmas Recipes
Serves 8 - 10
1tbsp oil, for frying
6 chicken Wings
4 carrots - chopped
2 leeks - chopped
2 banana shallots – chopped
3 stalks celery (I tend to keep the outer stalks for the cheese board and use the leaves, celery heart in the stock) - chopped
350ml (12fl oz) white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc but any decent dry white will do. If you like a sweeter sauce and are making the mashed parsnip recipe you can use Marsala)
2ltr (3½ pt) of chicken stock (not a stock cube!) from large supermarkets or butchers, or make your own
10 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
6 – 8 sprigs fresh thyme
75gm cold unsalted butter cubed
Salt and pepper
Put a little oil in the bottom of a deep saucepan and add the chicken wings and the turkey giblets. Start to brown off until they have a lovely dark brown colour. Be careful to not burn them but remember you want those lovely golden bits of flavour.
As the chicken wings and giblets start to cook add the chopped vegetables and fry off until everything is a lovely golden brown. Lots of stirring and making sure nothing burns at this stage.
Once everything caramelised add the white wine. Reduce this down a syrup until you have just 1-2tsp of liquid in the pan. This is an important step as we are adding flavour but you don’t want your sauce to taste of the alcohol.
Add the chicken stock and herbs and then simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Remove from heat and set aside in a cool place until near to service.
Once you are ready to prepare the gravy, drain the sauce through a sieve; leave it to sit for a few minutes to get as much out as you can. Put the gravy back on the heat. Stir in the butter; whisking all the time. Don’t boil the gravy with the butter as it will split. Season to taste and serve.
On Christmas Eve I peel my potatoes, carrots and parsnips but leave them whole, I place them in saucepans of cold water and put a slice of bread or two on the top of the water. The bread will stop the potatoes and other vegetables going starchy and keep them fresh for next day. I then put the saucepan in a cold place like the porch or a garage... Just be careful they don’t freeze. The only vegetable that I prep but don’t put in water but just leave in a covered saucepan is Brussel Sprouts. That way they don’t take up lots of water and go mushy.
Jane says... I leave all the vegetables etc in the stock mixture and then I sieve it Christmas day and complete the making of the gravy whilst the turkey is resting. You can make the stock in advance and freeze it to be used on the day if you want.
I prepare the majority of this gravy on Christmas Eve, leaving just the finishing off to do on Christmas Day. I use the giblets from the turkey as I believe this gives the best flavour but I understand not all turkeys come with giblets and not everyone wants to use them. So, I also use chicken wings for extra flavour. Just leave out the giblets if you don’t have them or don’t want to use them. Your stock will not pack quite as much of a flavour punch but it will still be lovely.
Photo: © Peter Cassidy