How to make gravy: Jamie Oliver’s ‘epic’ recipe is guaranteed to transform roast dinners

The kitchen can be very manic on Christmas Day, so take some pressure off by making the gravy in advance.

While it is more convenient to just buy ready-made gravy from the supermarket, it’ll taste so much better if it is homemade.

For those unsure where to even begin when making gravy, Jamie Oliver has shared a recipe that covers everything you need to know.

He said: “Good gravy has the power to transform, or even save, a meal. Open your mind to a slightly radical idea: make your gravy a few days, or even weeks in advance, simply reheating it in your turkey tray on the big day.

“To reduce food waste, I’ve updated my classic ‘get-ahead gravy recipe’ to give you the option of swapping out the chicken wings for drumsticks and legs. This means you can pick out the bones and turn the leftovers into a delicious meal.”

“So it’s really up to you on the chicken front – either way, you’ll still have your epic gravy in the bag (and in the freezer), ready for Christmas Day. ”


Two onions

Two carrots

Two sticks of celery

Two rashers of smoked streaky bacon

Two fresh bay leaves

Two sprigs of fresh sage

Two sprigs of fish rosemary

Two star anise

10 chicken wings or three chicken drumsticks and three chicken legs

Olive oil

60ml sherry or port (optional)

Four tablespoons plain flour

Two tablespoons cranberry sauce


Start by preheating the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and prep the ingredients. Peel the onions, wash the carrots, then roughly chop with the celery and bacon. Put the veg, bay leaves, sage, rosemary and star anise into a sturdy high-sided roasting tray, then scatter the chopped bacon on top.

Next, add the chicken to the tray – if you’re using the chicken wings, break them open first using a rolling pin to help release extra flavour as they cook. Drizzle with oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, toss, then cook for one hour, or until tender.

Remove the tray from the oven and transfer to a low heat on the hob. Mash everything with a potato masher, scraping up all the goodness from the base of the tray (the longer you let it fry, the darker your gravy will be). If you want to add sherry or port, now’s the time to do so and just leave it to cook away for a few minutes.

Gradually stir in the flour, then pour in two litres of boiling kettle water. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.

When the gravy is the consistency of your liking, pour it through a coarse sieve into a large bowl, pushing all the goodness through with the back of a spoon. Taste and season to perfection, cool to room temperature, then pour into containers or bags and pop into the fridge or freezer, ready to finish off on Christmas Day.

If you’ve frozen the gravy, take it out two days before to defrost in the fridge until needed.

When the turkey’s perfectly cooked, remove it to a platter to rest for up to two hours, covered with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel. Take away most of the fat from the tray, cool, and place into a jar in the fridge for tasty cooking another day.

Pour the gravy into the tray with the rest of the turkey juices. Bring to the boil over the hob and scrape up all those sticky bits from the base. Have a taste, then stir in the cranberry sauce to balance the flavours.

Once the gravy is piping hot, carefully strain through a coarse sieve into a pan, then leave it on the lowest heat until you’re ready to serve. Skim away any fat that rises to the top, and add any extra resting juices from the turkey before serving.

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