Being from Manchester, I (Lorraine) am obsessed, as all northerners are, with gravy! I like a little island of food in an ocean of gravy. I like it on chips, I like it on mash, and I like it with roast potatoes, the more the better – I just can’t have too much gravy.
Cornflour is used in this recipe as it’s easy and gives a glossy and translucent gravy. As I like my gravy really thick we err on the generous side with the cornflour. For a thinner gravy just use less cornflour as this is what thickens it. Wheat flour will work too but gives a more opaque gravy with a richer flavour (which I love), and you will need to use about 50% more of it to get a the same thickness. Obviously avoid this if you want to make your meal wheat free or gluten free.
So here goes, this is our method for sure-fire rich and tasty gravy. Mmmmm.
You will need:
- 1 onion, sliced
- 100 ml red wine (or 40 ml red wine vinegar)
- 4 heaped Tbsp cornflour (aka cornstarch)
- 2 Tbsp marmite (in practice 1 really heaped one!)
- 1 Tbsp onion powder (optional)
- Hot water as required (or vegetable stock if you have it)
- 1 L cold water (or less if using vegetable stock)
- Dash of vegetable oil for frying the onion
1. Fry your onions on a low heat in the vegetable oil until they are really browned.
You can cut them into threads by making a slit lengthways down one side of the onion (shoot to root) to the middle, then cut into slices to make rings. The slit will cause the rings to come undone as they cook, making long threads that are a nice touch when drizzled on your food!
The slower you brown them, the tastier they will be. Although you can get them really brown in under 10 minutes, the sweetest, most delicate flavours are only available when you cook them on a very low heat for a very long time, like at a burger van. So if you start them early in the process and keep them ticking over until you need them, then you’ll get the best out of them. Though you don’t want to completely char them, t’s fine if they’re a little bit blackened!
2. When you’re happy with the brownness of your onions, add the red wine (or vinegar) and allow to cook down on a low heat until significantly reduced and thick. Don’t let it dry out completely. When this step is finished, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool a little.
3. Dissolve the marmite (and onion powder if using) in hot water to make a dark stock.
4. In a separate container, make the cornflour into a paste using a small amount of the cold water. Stir vigorously until all lumps are dissolved and continue adding more cold water a little at a time until it is well dissolved and all of the water has been added.
5. Pour the marmite stock into the pan and then gradually but steadily add the dissolved cornflour solution, stirring constantly to avoid lumps forming. Return to the heat and continue stirring until your gravy has thickened. It shouldn’t be necessary to let it boil, as this can damage the flavour.
Tip: If your gravy isn’t as thick as you’d like, you can make more cornflour solution and add this in a steady stream stirring vigorously and constantly as you do so. This should thicken up the hot gravy almost immediately.