How to make the three essential sauces of Christmas

Can you have turkey without gravy, bread sauce and cranberry sauce? We think not. And of course, making your own is much better

Friday 22 December 2017 15:03

Turkey gravy

Using your own stock will make your gravy taste wonderfully rich and flavoursome.

Prep: 1½ hours, plus cooling
Cook: 10 minutes

Serves 8

For the turkey stock

reserved giblets from the turkey (excluding the liver)
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 stick celery, cut into chunks
3 fresh bay leaves
4 fresh parsley stalks
6 black peppercorns

For the gravy

2 tbsp plain flour
750ml turkey stock (above) or chicken stock, or a combination of both
100ml red or white wine

If you are making your own stock, place the giblets in a pan with 1.5l of cold water. Slowly bring to the boil and skim off any foam with a slotted spoon.

Add the remaining stock ingredients, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until it has reduced by half. Strain through a sieve, cool then cover and chill in the fridge overnight.

To make the gravy, bring the stock to the boil then remove from the heat. While the turkey is resting, spoon off the fat from the tin, leaving the dark juices behind. Place the tin over a medium heat and bring to a simmer, then stir in the flour and incorporate all those sticky bits from the bottom. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.

Remove from the heat and stir in 2 ladlefuls of the stock. Return to the hob and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes, then gradually add the remaining stock and wine. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, season to taste then strain into a warm jug and serve.

Get ahead: Make the stock then cool, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To freeze: Make the stock, then cool, cover and freeze for up to 1 week. Defrost thoroughly before using to make the gravy as above.

Easy cranberry sauce

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

Serves 8

250g pack fresh cranberries
juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
100g light brown muscovado sugar
3-4 tbsp port

Place the cranberries and the juice and zest of the orange into a small pan with 150ml of cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes until the cranberries have softened and started to burst.

Add the sugar and port, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for a further 5-7 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and serve warm or cold.

Get ahead: Make the sauce up to a week in advance, cool and keep it in the fridge, or store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before use.

Classic bread sauce​

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

Serves 8

½ onion, finely chopped
6 cloves
1-2 bay leaves
30g butter
568ml bottle whole milk
150g sliced fresh white bread (about 5 slices), crusts removed and roughly torn
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2-3 tbsp single cream 

Heat the onion, cloves, bay leaves, butter and milk in a medium pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain the milk and return it to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the bread and add the nutmeg. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the bread has broken up.

Stir in the cream and heat through for 1 minute just before serving.

Get ahead: Make the sauce up to step 2, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Reheat over a gentle heat before continuing from step 3.

To freeze: Make to the end of step 2, cool and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly before reheating and continuing as above.

For more Christmas recipes visit Waitrose

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