Jamie Oliver’s Get-Ahead Gravy

I’m here to present to you a miraculous concept: you can make your gravy for Christmas a few days or even a few weeks ahead of time.  Then all you need to do is heat it up on the big day.  Gravy needs a lot of time to be truly excellent, and time is something you have much less of when you’re setting out a feast for the family.  So why not make it ahead of time?  Jamie Oliver does, and, last year, the Pie and I tried it for the first time, to fantastic results.

First, preheat your oven to about 400°F and get out your big turkey roasting pan.

Get Ahead Gravy

Roughly chop up 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, and quarter 2 onions. Don’t even worry too much about the onion paper. That stuff will just make the gravy darker. Huck all those in the pan.

Get Ahead Gravy

Add in as well about 5 bay leaves, 5 sage leaves, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 2 star anise.

Get Ahead Gravy

Then you need some chicken wings, about 8 whole ones. Bash them with a rolling pin or break the bones with the back of a sharp knife to release the marrow. Add those to the pan.

Get Ahead Gravy

Slice up a few rashers of a nice bacon and add that to the mix. Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and stick it in the oven.

Get Ahead Gravy

Roast for about 1 hour, until the vegetables are tender and the meat is falling off the bone.

Get Ahead Gravy

Put the pan on the stove element on low heat and take a potato masher to the contents. Start squishing and shifting around everything in the pan. It will smell glorious, and the longer you do this the darker your gravy will be.

Get Ahead Gravy

When you get bored with that, sprinkle about 4 tablespoons flour across the mix and stir it in.

Get Ahead Gravy

Then pour about 2 litres of hot water into the mix. Raise the heat to high and bring it to a boil.

Get Ahead Gravy

Turn it down to a simmer and let that go for about 25 minutes. Continue to mash that around with your masher.

Get Ahead Gravy

When it’s ready, scoop everything out into a sieve and push it through to get all the gravy goodness.

Get Ahead Gravy

Let your gravy cool to room temperature, then chuck it into the freezer.

Get Ahead Gravy

When you want to use it, simply defrost it and add it to the other juices from your roasted turkey, like an instant boost!

Get Ahead Gravy

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Turkey and Leek Pie

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

While you’re spending the day prepping for your big turkey feast (or, if you celebrated yesterday, cleaning up afterwards), why don’t you consider what you can do with the leftover bits of that big bird?

I cooked this little baby up after watching a Jamie Oliver Christmas special on the plane home to Ottawa last December, and I served it to the lovely folks at our annual potluck.  It’s super easy, super tasty, and a great way to eat up all that leftover turkey.  And the best part about Jamie Oliver is he’s big on improvisation.  If you watch the videos for his recipes they never end up matching the recipes themselves, and that adds immensely to his charm.

Make sure you have a good package of unthawed frozen puff pastry lying around. I get the President’s Choice brand stuff and it comes in two blocks, which is perfect for our purposes here.

Then you’ll need 2kg leeks.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Leeks are super dirty. My mother told me that as the leeks grow they bury the stems in more dirt in order to keep that stem as pale and tender as possible.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

This means you’ll need to clean them well. I find the easiest way to do so is to cut off the scraggly top ends and then slice the whole thing in half lengthwise. Pop those babies in a sink full of water and swish away until all the dirt is gone. Then give them a good shake to drain out the excess water.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Now, chop up those leeks. Make the pale ends a bit chunkier, but slice the tougher green ends up really thin.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Now, take a large, fat saucepan with a lid and chuck in the leaves of about half a bunch of fresh thyme.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Chop up a couple of slices of nice bacon, add a glug or two of olive oil, and cook that for a wee bit on high to medium-high.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Pour in your chopped leeks and let them cook for about three minutes on high.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Then add in some salt and pepper, pop the lid on, and turn the heat down to medium. Let that cook for about thirty minutes, stirring every 5-10, to make sure nothing sticks.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

While that’s on the go, chop up your leftover turkey. You’ll need about 800g grams of turkey, chopped or torn into big chunks. Light meat, dark meat, whatever floats your boat. I like half and half, because the dark stuff has more flavour. If you have leftover stuffing it will make a great contribution as well. Huck that into your leek pot when the leeks are done.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons flour and stir that to fully combine it with the leeks and turkey.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Then add in 2 pints of stock — turkey, chicken, vegetable, mushroom, whatever you want.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

And 2 heaping tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream (or even plain greek yogurt if that’s what you have).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Give that a good stir and bring it back to a boil for a minute. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like, then turn off the heat.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Pour your leek mixture through a sieve into a pot to get some lovely gravy out of this. Removing the gravy now will also make sure your pie doesn’t end up soggy, and if you drain it directly into a pot then you can easily heat it up before you serve it.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Preheat your oven to 375°F and lay your leek mixture out in a buttered 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out a segment of pastry so that it is a few inches larger than your pan size on all sides. If you just have one piece of pastry, then roll it out so it’s double the pan size (you will then fold one side over the other).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Crumble some chestnuts and fresh sage leaves over the pastry (or half the pastry if you’re folding).

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Fold the other half on top or roll out the other piece and place it on top of the first and press down a bit to seal the chestnuts and sage inside.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

Lay the pastry across your pan and tuck the ends in underneath the mixture on all the sides.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

With a sharp knife score the whole pastry surface diagonally.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie

If you wish you can put an egg wash on at this point by beating an egg, adding a pinch of salt, and brushing that over the top of the pastry, but I didn’t bother. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until your pastry is puffy and golden brown. Serve warm with the reheated gravy. It is so excellent.

Turkey Leek and Bacon Pie