Friday, 4 February 2011

Gravy Stock

This evening, I served-up grilled pork loin, mashed potatoes, petits pois and gravy. I didn't really have any disasters whilst cooking. Ok, I cooked twice as many potatoes as I should have done, and the smoke alarm blared, but those are just normal side-effects of my cookistry prowess.  Also, I had to serve the plates singularly, as I had poured too much gravy over the meals.

When I served Doris's to her, she asked how I'd made the gravy. Come to think of it, she asked whether I'd had trouble with the gravy at the weekend, when I cooked roast Lamb.

I explained that I didn't understand how it had gone wrong, as it was about 1/3 of a pint of water with a vegetable Oxo cube in it, following the instructions on the side of the Oxo box. Our measuring jugs don't have a marker for "1/3 Pint", so I thought that possibly I'd used the wrong amount of water. This admission prompted a discussion about the difference between stock and gravy. Apparently, I have been serving stock in place of gravy.

I have successfully made gravy in the past, after Doris taught me. The opening line to her tutelage was always "Using the juice from the meat, ..." and neither these pork loins nor the lamb at the weekend expelled any juice. Now I know ... if the meat doesn't leave any juices behind, use olive oil instead, and make it the same way as I've been taught, rather than just to crumble an Oxo cube into some water.

At least we had lots of spare mashed potatoes, to mop up the surplus gravy stock. I had made special mash too, using both butter and cream. When I explained this to Doris, she mentioned that she's on a diet, so needs to be aware of butter and cream intake before she eats, rather than when she's nearly finished.

At this stage, I think I should give thanks to Doris, my partner, who is becoming a long-standing Guinea Pig for my fumblings in the kitchen. I have hardly made her ill with any of the food I've served, which I count as a bonus!

She's sitting next to me, and just said "When I come home after a full-on tiring week, I can't say what I want for dinner without an ensuing drama! At least I don't shout at you". I'm thankful for small mercies, with the standard of my cooking.

1 comment:

  1. If you want a really bare-bones gravy (and I DO mean bare-bones!).....

    Crumble the oxo into boiling water per instructions (should make one cup.)

    Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a smallish saucepan over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, stirring constantly with a wood spoon.

    Keep on with this (the stirring) until the butter and flour start to glob up and get browned. (The globbing is more important than the browning, for learning purposes. If you burn it, you'll have to pitch it out and start over.)

    Add your oxo liquid a dribble at a time, again stirring with some energy as you do so to help the flour/butter mix to dissolve.

    Let it all come to a simmer (visible bubbles bursting on the surface, but not a volcano blowing up!), then turn the heat off.

    That is a really basic gravy.