Adam from Barbarian Hermit shares his secret gravy recipe
March 19, 2020
A few years ago Barbarian Hermit were lovingly described in a review as “purveyors of that thick, northern gravy”. I’m not even sure who it was that wrote it now as we never thought to bookmark it at the time, but that phrase stuck with us ever since. We ran with it ever since and there’s barely a post on our social media channels that doesn’t reference the viscous, brown nectar of the gods.
Northern boys, as they say, love gravy. It runs in our veins. Those that know me will know that as well as writing riffs for Barbarian Hermit, I also love to cook up a storm in the kitchen. Here’s my recipe for a thick, meaty, rich gravy. Ideal for your Sunday roast, but just as delicious on chips, with a pie, on your cereal or drunk straight from a pint glass.
Although I do like a veggie/vegan friendly onion gravy from time to time, for me, the best gravy relies heavily on the roasting juices from a nice big hunk of meat (no, I’m not talking about Big Daddy Reegs).
● Aforementioned hunk of meat (roasting joint of pork, beef or lamb)
● 1 onion
● 1 carrot
● 1 stick celery
● 1 bay leaf
● A few sprigs thyme and rosemary
● 2 tablespoons plain flour
● 1 pint Stock (ideally the same as the meat you’re roasting)
● Red wine
● 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
● Worcester sauce
● Salt & pepper
● Generous helping of loud riffs
Start with your meat. Chop the onion, celery, carrot and half the herbs and spread them across the bottom of your roasting tin. Lay the meat on top, pour in a good glug of water and roast according to the type and weight of meat.
About half an hour before your meat is ready, take a saucepan and melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until it forms a reaux, like a thick buttery paste. Add a splash of red wine and let it bubble for a bit so the alcohol burns off. Add the stock and stir with a whisk to ensure any lumps of flour break down and the sauce thickens.
For extra flavour, infuse your gravy with some chunky riffs. I suggest playing the new Video Nasties album, Dominion on full volume in the kitchen to give your sauce an extra vicious kick.
Add the herbs, Worcester sauce and mustard and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Now the best bit. Once your meat is ready, take it out to rest. Remove it from the roasting tin and set aside. In the bottom of the tin you should now have a thick sauce of meat juices and the onions, carrots and celery should be nicely caramelised. Pour all this into your gravy pot. If there’s any gubbins stuck to the side of the roasting tin pour in some red wine and scrape them off with a spoon, ideally while the tinis still hot. Add this to the gravy too. Also, if you’ve been cooking any of your accompanying veggies in water, add a splash of the cooking liquor from those too.
Depending on the size of your meat joint, you’ll probably have about 20 minutes while it rests. Turn the heat on your gravy to as high as it will go and let that shit bubble violently, making sure you stir regularly to stop it burning at the bottom. You want it to reduce by at least a couple of inches. The more it reduces, the more intense the flavours will get.
As it’s cooking you might find that a kind of scummy foam forms on the top. Scrape this off with a spoon and discard it.
Once the gravy has reduced to your liking, take it off the heat. Take a fine sieve and strain it to get rid of the bits of onion, herb twigs, bay leaf etc. Press with the back of a wooden spoon to make sure you squeeze every last drop of flavour from the detritus. You should now have a thick, smooth, gravy. But you’re not done yet. While the gravy is still hot (but not bubbling) add a knob of butter and stir it through until it melts, giving it a beautifully rich sheen.
Serve from your finest gravy boat.
Read more of Adam's work on his Electric Flavourland blog: