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This herb gravy base is a universal sauce base that I use to create a gravy to accompany many roast meat dishes.
- 600ml strong chicken stock (or pork, lamb or beef)
- 2 echalion (banana) shallots, peeled but keep the skins, and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
- bunch of herbs, roughly chopped (or 1 tbsp dried herbs)
- 2 bay leaves
- 100ml dry vermouth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and black pepper
- Tip: If you have any raw meat scraps or bones, add these too, but brown them off first.
- In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and gently sauté the shallot, and until it starts to soften - about 5 minutes,
- Add the carrot, celery and garlic, and sauté gently for another 5 minutes.
- Turn up the heat, and add the vermouth; cook for a minute or so to evaporate off the alcohol.
- Now add the stock, herbs, bay leaves, and shallot skins. The shallot skins will add colour to the gravy.
- Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- Strain off the liquid into a bowl, and return the liquid to the saucepan.
- Turn up the heat and reduce the volume by about two thirds.
- You will be left with a rich herby liquid that you add to any meat juices from a roast joint.