Heap high the groaning platter with pink fillets, suckling pig and thick gammon, celestial chef. Be generous with the crackling. Let your hand slip with the gravy trough, dispensing plenty. - George Mann MacBeth
Gravy: surely one of the most memory-laden words in the English language; the nectar of the North. If someone says to you 'would you like sauce with that?' you'll answer 'what kind of sauce?'. But if someone asks ''would you like gravy with that' the only sane retort is 'too right, sunshine. Hi ye hence with a jug of said meaty essences forthwith.'.
Absent the sticky reductions of veal stock available to the professional chef, I'd guess most of us make gravy at home only when we've done a Sunday roast, availing ourselves of the juices and sticky bits in the roasting tray.
I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage. - Erma Bombeck
But what about during the week? What about if you're on your tod and can't be arsed making a roast? Well, here's a quick and delicious gravy for just such an occasion. For this particular one, I've used apple juice, because that's what was in the fridge, and also because I was serving it with a pork chop. But you can just as well use red or white wine, or cider. You could use madeira or marsala, but then I'd leave out the redcurrant jelly.
The only stock I tend make at home is chicken - great for soups, stews, risottos etc., but no good here. So I buy one of those vac-pacs of beef stock from the supermarket (£1.40 for 500 ml), use 125ml, and freeze the other three portions for later use.
a slice of butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
60 ml apple juice
125 ml beef stock
1 heaped tsp of dijon mustard
½ tsp redcurrant jelly
a handful of roughly torn up savoy cabbage leaves
a slice of butter
1 x pork chop, rind removed, at room temperature
½ dessert apple
salt + black pepper
In a small pan, melt a slice of butter over a low heat and gently fry the chopped shallot until it's a deep golden colour. Add the apple juice, stock, mustard and redcurrant jelly. Turn up the heat and boil until reduced by roughly a half. Strain into a bowl or jug and season with pepper; depending on the stock you're using, it may not need any salt.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and throw in the cabbage. Cook for a few minutes until softened. Rinse in cold water, drain dry and roughly chop.
Peel the apple half and slice into segments. Then griddle, or fry in a pan with a little butter, until caramelised.
All the above can, of course, be done well in advance.
When you're ready to eat, season the pork chop. Heat a frying pan to fairly high and add a splash of oil. Hold the chop fat side down in the oil for a minute or two, just to colour. Now fry for approximately 4-5 minutes each side.
While the chop is cooking, heat a pan and melt a slice of butter in it. Add the chopped cabbage, season and stir until heated through. Re-heat the gravy (I put the jug in the microwave on high for 1 minute).
Arrange the chop, cabbage and apple on a plate and serve with the jug of gravy on the side.
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