Traditional Beef Gravy

A pan of beef gravy.

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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Traditional beef gravy is the best accompaniment to roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, the national dish of Great Britain. There's no need to serve ready-made gravy when making it is so easy and tastes so much better than anything you can buy.

There are a few tricks to making a great gravy. If you can, always use the delicious pan juices from your roast, and homemade stock will almost always be tastier than store-bought stock. It doesn't matter what type of red wine (or port) you use in the recipe. As long as it is a wine you'd drink, that works fine. In fact, it's a nice conversation starter to use the wine you are serving at dinner. Then all you need are a few simple ingredients, and your Sunday roast or supper dish will be transformed by tasty homemade gravy. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pan juices (from roast meat, such as beef or lamb)
  • 1/2 glass red wine (or port)
  • 1 pint/500 mL beef stock (or chicken or vegetable stock)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (cold, cut into very small cubes)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the roasting pan with the pan juices on the stovetop over high heat until the meat juices begin to bubble, taking care not to burn the juice as it bubbles up quickly.

  3. Pour in the red wine and scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula.

  4. Allow this mixture to bubble until it is reduced to a sticky, concentrated glaze. Do not leave the pan unattended, as the reduction happens very quickly and can quickly burn.

  5. Add the stock to the sauce and stir thoroughly to incorporate the stock into the reduced glaze.

  6. Once it is fully mixed, strain the gravy through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Bring this mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat and reduce it by one-third.

  7. Once the gravy is reduced, add the butter in tiny pieces, shaking the pan gently until all the butter is melted and fully incorporated into the sauce. Adding the ice-cold butter not only adds flavor and richness, but it also gives the gravy a glossy shine. 

  8. Check the resting meat to see if it has given up any more meat juices (beef and lamb often will as the meat relaxes). Add these juices to the gravy and give it another quick boil. 

  9. Keep the gravy warm until needed, then strain into a gravy boat or bowl and serve.

How to Store

  • Store any leftover gravy in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Once it cools, the fat will likely separate. Gently stir it as you warm it in a saucepan to reheat it.
  • Leftover gravy can also be frozen. Defrost it in the refrigerator and then gently rewarm it.
  • Serve the leftover gravy with any leftover meat or give it a new life as a dressing for tasty sandwiches or a decadent topping to homemade steak fries.

Tips

  • Once the roast meat is cooked, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board or platter. Wrap it loosely in aluminum foil and leave it to rest as you make this gravy.
  • Pour away any excess fat from the meat juices before beginning this recipe.

Are Beef Consommé and Beef Stock the Same as Gravy?

Beef stock is a flavored liquid made using beef bones and often aromatics like onion. After simmering for some time, the liquid is strained, and the stock can be used to make soups or add flavor to a wide range of dishes, including gravies. Consommé is made with stock that is clarified using egg whites and is enjoyed as a light dish on its own. Gravy is thicker and often more flavorful than stock or consommé and is used as a sauce to top meat dishes, mashed potatoes, and more.