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Jamie Oliver's Get-ahead Gravy

Serves: makes 1 litre


2 onions

2 carrots

2 sticks of celery

2 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon

2 fresh bay leaves

2 sprigs of fresh sage

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 star anise

10 free-range chicken wings

Olive oil

60 ml sherry or port, optional

4 tablespoons plain flour

2 tablespoons cranberry sauce



  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4

  2. 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.

  3. Break the chicken wings open, bash with a rolling pin to help release extra flavour as they cook, then add to the tray. Drizzle with oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, toss, then cook for 1 hour, or until tender.

  4. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer to a low heat on the hob. Really grind and 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; just leave it to cook away for a few minutes.

  5. Gradually stir in the flour, then pour in 2 litres of boiling kettle water. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.

  6. 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.

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