Jus versus gravy; what’s all the fuss? We are commonly asked for gravy in store and have found many a roast lover that is new to the idea of jus. But isn’t it just glorified gravy?
Jus is the French word used to describe a sauce that is made from meat cooking juices reduced down to a clear liquid, which can then be served alongside or poured over your meat. A traditional jus is a labour of love, made from roasted bones and vegetables that are then boiled for a long period before being strained and reduced to a very intense sauce. It’s bold, intense and time-consuming.
A gravy is still made from meat juices but is thickened with flour or cornflour to give it a thicker, more viscous texture. Usually made straight in the pan or roasting tray, gravies may have the addition of vegetable cooking water, but the best bit is they use all that delicious meat juice goodness stuck to the tray, and we don’t care about what crispy bits may end up in there, as it’s Sunday night roast night!
So, either way, you still get the saucy goodness you want. In store, we make life easier for you by having Foundation Foods jus, a ready-to-heat format means you can avoid a roasting tray burn, so just heat and reduce to your preferred thickness and even add more flavour via spices like star anise, a dollop or two of merlot jelly or damson plum paste or a touch of wine. Foundation Foods does all the hard work – the long roasting and cooking, the heavy straining and clarifying and the chilling down so the final result is a gelatinous pouch of all the good stuff you want for perfect jus (or gravy).
But making your own jus or pan gravy doesn’t need to be hard if you follow our simple steps:
- A terrific gravy starts with a great stock!
Use a good stock to start. If you don’t have time to make your own, we recommend a real stock, like Foundation Foods or Harris rather than a powdered stock. It can really make the difference between a good and a great end result.
- Bringing your stock to a simmer is key to avoiding clumping.
Once your roast meat is out of the oven. Bring 4 cups of the stock you’ve chosen to a simmer and keep it warm. This will prevent clumping later. Meanwhile, take the same roasting pan the meat was cooked in, drain and reserve its drippings (fat), place the roasting pan over two elements over a medium heat. Add ¼ cup of reserved fat.
- Deeply developed flavour and consistency come from the roux.
Whisk in ⅓ cup plain flour, scraping up all the brown bits (that’s flavour and colour). Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a toasty golden-brown and looks shiny and smooth, about 5 mins.
- Wine time!
Add a ½ cup of dry white wine (on the acidic side) and whisk to blend. Cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated; this happens quickly. Add reserved drippings and some thyme sprigs and whisk until blended.
- Your make-or-break moment, the one that separates goop from silk: the blending of the roux and stock.
Using a large ladle, add a bit of the still-hot stock to the roux, whisking until blended. Continue to add the rest of the stock – more liquid, more whisking; more liquid, more whisking – until no lumps remain, this should take about 8-10 mins.
- Give it a good amount of time to thicken up!
Once the stock is all whisked in, simmer the gravy for a few more minutes until it is thick enough – when the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remember the meat can rest for up to 30 mins after coming out of the oven, so there’s no need to rush.
- Finally, the last essential tip for a super smooth gravy: sieve!
For a completely smooth gravy, strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium saucepan kept over low heat. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of vinegar (we like sherry) for an acid touch.
Good gravy should be tasty enough to drink! Good luck perfecting your technique.