A recent question from a reader prompted this latest blog post, which I’ve been meaning to do for some months now. I’ve written about gravy and stock cubes before in “Which gravy and stock cubes are allergen free?”
However this reader was looking for something with no allergens at all: “NO: yeast, sugar, garlic, onion etc., lactose, beetroot, marmite, malt, bovril (not sure re: wheat-happy to try if nec!) please.”
That’s a real toughy. I think most of the freefrom stock cubes and gravy products on the market contain onion, garlic and/or yeast and it got me thinking. I am even having a slight problem with the Free&Easy gravy granules now. Not sure what it is in them that irritates me but it’s not nice to wake with a face full of hives, a rash and itching like mad. It’s only a mild reaction but the itching keeps me up all night, my scalp is still sore from the attack.
Never fear – totally allergen free gravy is easy peasy
Gravy is actually very easy to make from scratch with no shop bought stock cubes.
If you can tolerate corn flour you can use it to thicken your stock or gravy. Just mix a few teaspoons with cold water and add very slowly to your pan of liquid.
If you can’t use corn flour look into arrowroot or try using some safe flour to thicken. Just keep stirring and watch out for lumps. Don’t leave it alone once you have added your thickener or you will get lumps and lots of them. If this does happen the sieve comes in very handy for removing them but it’s best not to get them in the first place.
I’ve actually been making my own quite regularly lately. All I do is just pour off some of the meat juice when cooking a joint, add some vegetable water and thicken with corn flour. Just add salt and pepper if that’s all you can add. If you can use any stock cubes do, I find Marigold to be the safest for me. You could also add a dash of wine if you have a bottle open and mixed herbs or oregano to flavour.
Save the carcasses!
When I cook chicken, the whole bird, which I do regularly, I just stuff the carcass into a plastic bag and freeze it. Once I’ve saved up two or three I make a real chicken stock in a big pan.
Just add water to just about cover, a bay leaf or two and any vegetables you can eat. Chuck in a carrot, broccoli, anything in the fridge that’s looking a bit tired and can be sacrificed to the stock.
Then either put it in the fridge once cool or freeze for later use.
It’s so easy to make. Just leave on simmer for a few hours and pour off the broth. You don’t need to watch it. Once you’ve got it stable on a low simmer just check in every now and again for a stir, and it does smell lovely while it’s cooking.
You can do this in your slow cooker too, just bung it all and leave on low for 4-5 hours, check regularly,
Allergen free gravy cooked in the oven with the meat!
I also have an very good tip from Michelle Berriedale-Johnson of Foodsmatter. I have done this too and it works a treat. Buy a rack for your roasting tin and sit the bird of joint onto this. Then once the meat has cooked a bit a juices are flowing, add some wine, a bay leaf, salt and pepper, whatever really. It will just cook along with the bird, give it a stir around every now and again when you check the roast, and when the roast is resting, transfer to a small pan to finish off and add any seasoning it needs or cornflour to thicken. Read her Easy Gravy recipe here.
I then add to soup, risottos, or just to make gravy.
Do you make your own gravy? What do you make it with? How do you make it?
I don’t often cook meat, Ruth, and I have found that if I just add a dash of red wine and water to the scrapings I have in the bottom of my pan, whatever I have cooked, it makes a sort of ‘jus’. Now there’s posh 😉 If I want a thicker ‘gravy’, I stir a tiny bit of arrowroot into the water and stir that through. Has improved my roast veg and minute steak type meals no end.
Ah now there’s clever improvisation… a dry meal often needs a little something so this sounds like a fab idea. Thanks for sharing Micki
Any ideas for vegan gravy that is free of onion, leek, and yeast?
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi Julia, my only suggestion off the top of my head is using arrowroot powder or corn flour to make your own. It can be really quick. Just use vegetable water and any spices and herbs that you can. It’s what I do most of the time. I’ll see if I can find any now though.