There are two things that make a good gravy: a vegetable trivet, which is the layer of vegetables in the bottom of your roasting tray that your meat sits on; and the juices from a roasted piece of good-quality meat.
As long as you always use a vegetable trivet and buy good-quality meat, your gravy will taste like heaven whether you use water or stock. Follow my method for making gravy and you'll never look back.
Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
MethodTo make your gravy
When you come to make your gravy, your chicken will be covered and resting and you'll have your tray of chicken juices and vegetable trivet in front of you. Using a spoon, carefully remove 90 per cent of the hot fat from the tray by angling it away from yourself and scooping off the fatty layer that settles on top.
Put the tray back on the hob over a high heat. Add the flour, stir it around and, holding the tray steady with a tea towel in one hand, use a potato masher to mash all the veg to a pulp – don't worry if it's lumpy. You can rip the wings off the chicken and break them up into the tray to add more flavour at this point.
When everything is mixed and mashed up, add the alcohol to give a little fragrance before you add your stock (the alcohol will cook away). Keep it over the heat and let it boil for a few minutes. Pour the stock into the tray, or add 1 litre of hot water. Bring everything in the pan to the boil, scraping all the goodness from the bottom of the pan as you go. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until you've achieved the gravy consistency you're looking for.
To serve your gravy
Get yourself a large jug, bowl or pan and put a coarse sieve over it. Pour your gravy through the sieve, using a ladle to really push all the goodness through. Discard any veg or meat left behind. At this point you've got a really cracking gravy, and you can either serve it straight away or put it back on the heat to simmer and thicken up.