Taking the Gravy Boat to somewhere, elsewhere that makes you want to sing below the stars in the middle of the night... Just because you are enchanted by a velvety, somptuous sauce which caresses your tongue, lingers in your palate, warms your throat and down goes your meal with the cascade of Paradise. You can only take the plonge with gravies and sauces. They are the deep pool of taste and flavours. They are the add, the plus, the little bit on the edge which can makes it an A+ or the liquid all over the plate that can give it a D-...
A lovely Pool for Braised Oxtail and Mash Potatoes.
Hence a Gravy Boat is a good idea to give the freedom to any guest to take a step too far or the adequate one for their own taste. They can pour as they want to but also where they want to. Some likes a swimming pool of gravy all over the plate, while others will be quite content to pour a little sauce on the corner of the plate and go for a little more if they happened to like it. It is all down to the three T's Test, Taste and Trial. Then you will know if you have a Titanic song in the voice of your guests and like Celine Dion you can go to Las Vegas or if your sauce is a truly sinking one.
So I will give you that tip: invest in a gravy boat, or a little jug, or /and some pretty pots or dishes to serve either your gravies or sauces. You can mix or match them, for me I do not bother, I go for the usefullness when I see them, but yes I do appreciate a little pretty pot, dish or jug when I find one. So it is rather a mix than a set which is identical. But you can always go along the line to explain your mix of dishes as you went for a trendy Boho style or a Hippy one when in fact you just got what you found was pleasing to the eyes and could be very useful in your kitchen. It is a matter of truth hands up in the air or gloves adding a bit of gloss or it could also be a bit of both... I will let you decide while I will just state 'Pretty Useful does the trick'.
The Old Gravy Boat. It is part of the Family. Warming our plates, belly and hearts.
Let us go back to our Gravy. We could certainly write books about them which could serve as a blanket, soft and rich to make you sleep, deeply, and warmly. So I have been taught that not all gravies go with everything. The gravy or sauce need adaptation to go well with the ingredients it needs to give a boost to. Personally I love a good Onion and Cider Gravy but I will never ever serve it with Beef. It will only go in my eyes with white Meat, either Pork or Chicken.
Onion and Sherry Gravy simmering.
Going along those lines, for Beef or Venison, I enjoy putting either Port or Red wine with Red Meat Gravies. Vermouth or Pernot or White Wine can enhance a Gravy or a Sauce for Veal, Chicken, and Fish. You can always try other alcohol like Madeira, Dry Sherry, Kirch, Champagne to flavour Gravies or Sauces. I will advise just a shot for a dish for a couple of person. But quantities can increase with the number of guest with great measure so you need to keep on top of that aspect. I will also mention an important point, some people do not drink alcohol for their own beliefs or religion or their own choices. Some try to quit drinking so to inform them what is in their sauce or dish helps them to make their own decisions. Hence it is useful to have a Gravy Boat or a little sauce dish.
Sherry and Chicken Gravy Measuring Time.
Another option of course is to create an alcohol free version if you know the request of your guests in advance. Two Gravy Boats upon a table may seem a little bit over the top luxurious but it is not. It is just being thoughtful of everyone. It is all about sharing the love: the Home sweet Home feeling for an evening.
Of course the juice gathered from the Meat gives the Gravy its body, its soul. But if you haven't got enough of it, this is why companies like Knorr or Oxo were created. Please don't feel bad to use a stock pot, gravy powder or a cube to have a Gravy that could feed a family. Because it will help to feed the families of those who work in these industries and elsewhere.
Stock pots. They come in many shapes and forms but are useful when time or proper ingredients are not within your sight or hand.
The Key to the heart warming Safe is the reduction and the addition. Your Safe is your Gravy or your Sauce. Too thin is too thin, it doesn't cover your belly with that warm feeling. However too thick is too thick, the I am going overboard feeling. So a decent Sauce should be balanced. A nice Gravy should be just as well. Think of a velvet scarf around your throat that makes you feel well and smiling. This is what it should be.
Gravies and Sauces can come clear from anything else and be just as rich in taste as some which have the plus factor. The art of it is called Reduction. You reduce your Gravy, your Sauce to the point that its coating will anyway be flavoursome. The process can be done either by simmering or boiling to intensify the taste you require. However the slower method hence simmering tends to give better results whilst boiling can give you bitter burnt results.
The advantage of simmering is that the impurities come to the surface ready to be skimmed off and to clarify your Gravy, Sauce or Consommé. Hence it is all for the better and the greater good. For Sauces especially, Tomato Sauce, Béchamel Sauce, Brown Sauce can do with a long simmer to have a greater taste.
Home Made Tomato Sauce.
Now for the addition or shall I correct myself and say additions. They do come in all sort yes, but they must sing together in your palate like a choir in a church doing a good interpretation of Hallelujah of Handel. I have the tendency to say less is more, a lesson learnt from my Aunt Marie-Thérése when I put too much salt on a plate one day. The voice of reason...
So my tendencies is to get to know good pairings, one plus one equals two and stick with that solution most of the time. For example I told you how I liked an Onion Gravy spiked with a little Cider. Well the Allium familly tend to do good marriages with Gravies and Sauces. I am speaking of Red, White, Brown Onions, Shallots, Spring Onions, Chives, good Lord they make your taste bust sing the Gospell that you will believe that you are in Wales or Louisiana.
Preparing a Brown Onions.
You need to taste to know your pairing. I tend to associate as I go along. Just experience of what is working and what is not but also listen to others but make my own judgement on my own taste buds. I can tell you that sweet red banana shallots, finely chopped works well with a velvety red wine Gravy to go with your Beef. I can preach you that a White Wine and chopped Chives Sauce goes very well with White Fish. I can tell you anything from my own experiences but you you also need to learn them from yours. Be experimental. If it works it is a keep, if it doesn't, don't give up, be on the road again and try something else. The important thing is to keep the track of your path and trials. The Notepad, the Diary, the what is working or what is not: make your footprints count.
Preparing Beef Ribs on a bed of White Onions and Chopped Leefs, with 250ml of Beeef Stock and 2ooml of Bourgogne Red Wine and 75ml of Port Wine.
Finishing the Red Wine, Port and Onion Beef Gravy, reducing in gathering all the meat juices of the Beef Ribs.
The Result on the plate pouring a glossy, velvety Gravy upon the Rib of Beef.