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    Beef Gravy

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    Beef Gravy

    I make my own stock using fresh beef bones, but you can buy prepared fresh beef stock instead. If you're pushed for time, use the juices from the beef pan, deglazed with fresh stock and wine.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes
    • Cooking time: 7 hours for stock, plus chilling; 40 minutes for gravy
    • Total time: 8 hours 15 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 6 - 8


    • Gravy
    • ½ bottle red wine
    • Salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Homemade stock
    • 4kg fresh beef bones, including at least one marrow bone
    • 1kg fresh shin of beef, in 1 or 2 large pieces
    • 4 large carrots, washed and cut into chunks
    • 4 leeks, washed and cut into chunks
    • 4 onions, washed and cut into chunks
    • ½ head of celery, washed and cut into chunks
    • 2 bay leaves
    • Sprig of thyme
    • A few peppercorns


    1. If you're making your own stock, preheat the oven to 210°C/gas 6½. Put all the bones in a roasting tray and roast for 15-20 minutes until sizzling and nicely browned. Put the browned bones and the fresh piece of shin in your largest stock pot and cover by at least 1.5cm with cold water. Bring to boiling point, but never allow more than the most tremulous simmer. Patches of grey-brown scum will appear on the surface. Skim these off with a spoon. When the only scum appearing is a clean white colour, stop skimming.
    2. Now add the vegetables and herbs. Bring back to a slow, tremulous simmer, and cook for at least 4-5 hours - preferably 6 or 7. (Remove the shin after 3 hours if you want to eat it - it's delicious cold, with a mustardy vinaigrette).
    3. Strain the stock into a clean pan or bowl. Discard the vegetables and bones. Leave the stock in a cool place (or, when cool, the fridge), ideally overnight, so the stock turns to jelly and the fat sets on top. Carefully remove all the fat and discard.
    4. Warm the stock over a gentle heat, so it liquefies completely, then strain it carefully through muslin or a cotton cloth.
    5. When you're ready to make the gravy, put the stock (homemade or 1-2 litres shop-bought) in a large, wide, heavy-based pan, add the wine, and boil hard to reduce. As it becomes darker and more concentrated, taste regularly. It will taste like it needs salt but don't be tempted to add it yet as it will get much too salty as it reduces. Stop when you have a rich, concentrated beefy sauce that is lightly syrupy but not too sticky. Only at this point should you season with salt.
    6. You can keep this sauce, chilled as a jelly, in the fridge for up to a week. To serve it with the beef, gently warm it until not quite boiling, and "refresh" with a few drops of new wine, before serving.
    7. You can also add the deglazed pan juices from the roasting tray, but make sure they are not too salty, and not too fatty, or they will spoil all your hard work.
    8. An alternative, quicker way to make gravy is to just use the deglazed pan juices. While the beef is resting, pour off the fat from the pan, leaving the juices and crispy bits behind. To deglaze, add around 150ml red wine and stir well, scraping up all the crispy bits. Strain into a clean pan, add about 600ml fresh beef stock and boil to reduce, as above, to a lightly syrupy gravy. Season to taste and serve.

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