Grandad’s onion gravy is a legend in my family. It goes great with Sunday roasts, sausages and pork chops.
Making this gravy takes a bit longer than usual, so I only tend to make it when we have the family round for dinner, but it is well worth the effort.
Red or White?
No, I’m not talking about which bottle of wine you should open when cooking dinner. It is the choice of brown-skinned white onions or red onions for your gravy.
While brown onions are usually used in cooking, reds are mainly used raw in salads because of their milder, sweeter flavour. Both are really healthy and low in calories. Either variety caramelises well, although sometimes adding a little sugar can help.
I think a gravy made with red onions complements roast pork or chicken where its milder taste doesn’t overwhelm the flavour of the meat. Sometimes all you can taste is the gravy!
Brown onion gravy suits red meats like beef and is a necessity for liver, bacon and onions.
Of course, the best dish for onion gravy is Bangers and Mash!
To Roux or Not to Roux
The Roux, a mixture of flour and butter in equal parts, forms the basis of French sauces.
By contrast, British gravy is traditionally made by adding flavouring and thickeners to the juices in the bottom of a roasting tray while the meat is resting after cooking. Bisto is the leading British brand for making gravy this way.
Although not named after them, the Roux brothers, Albert and Michel, came to the UK in the 1960s, despite speaking no English. They were so appalled by the standard of British cooking that they opened their first restaurant Le Gavroche in London’s Mayfair.
Credited with introducing French-style cuisine to London diners, their methods, known to professional chefs the world over, became popular with home cooks through tv cookery programs.
Whether you will decide to use a roux or not, probably depends on how much time you have. Personally, I roux.
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Recipe – Grandads Onion Gravy
Grandads Onion Gravy
- 50 g butter
- 2 onions large, peeled, halved and thinly sliced.
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 120 ml red wine
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh sage large
- 500 ml beef stock
- 1 tsp (affiliate link)Worcester sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp wholegrain mustard
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp butter cold, unsalted for glazing
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sugar and cook for about 30 minutes until caramelized (deep golden).
- Add the red wine and herbs, bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the stock, mustard, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Remove sprigs of herbs. Add the vinegar and simmer for another minute or two.
- Melt 50g of butter over a low heat in a suitable size pan. Add 50g plain flour and heat gently stirring continuously to make a roux. Once it looks smooth and glassy turn up the heat and very gradually add the onion mixture, a little at first, stirring constantly.
- Allow to simmer gently to cook out the flour, stirring regularly.
- Add the cold butter and whisk until dissolved. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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