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Beef gravy/sauce help

Decided on posters' recs to make a roasted prime rib of beef. I would like to make a killer "gravy" but don't want a brown thick, pasty gravy.
I would like something that is dark brown, deeply rich flavours, with some kind of red wine in the sauce/gravy.
Can this be done ahead of time? Do I need drippings? Will I get drippings?

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  1. Remove the prime rib from the pan and pour off most of the fat but leave the dripping (I use a paper towel with a corner on top to absorb it) but leave a couple of tablespoons of fat. Put the pan across two burners, add red wine and scrape the bottom to get the good bits off the pan. Let it come to a simmer, reduce if necessary. Reduce heat. Slowly add a tablespoon of butter at a time until you get the consistency you want. Season.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      To chowser's gravy, you could add sauteed mushrooms, which could be done ahead of time, with either sliced or chopped shrooms. And/or caramelized shallots/onions, also done ahead of time, and/or a splash of truffle oil.

      1. re: chowser

        I would also add a sprig each of rosemary and thyme during the reduction period. Remove once sauce is reduced.


      2. Some kind of wine? Cabernet Sauvignon

        1. Deglaze the pan with sherry.

          1. Thanks everyone, but I find that does not produce enough for leftovers to use too. Is there a way I can have it equally flavourful but increase the volume (adding a demiglace and reducing butter amount)?
            Based on your advice, I will:
            pour off the fat
            put over a burner
            deglaze with brunello, add rosemary and thyme sprigs
            simmer and reduce
            add butter dollops for consistency

            5 Replies
            1. re: itryalot

              Sure, you can make a separate beef gravy ahead of time, as much as you want, and mix it in at the end. Get some meaty marrow bones, oil them, and raost them at 400+ until well browned, then simmer with aromatics for a good stock, then reduce that, thicken, and season. Just be careful about any purchased bases that you add, since they are very salty.

              1. re: greygarious

                Good point. So, what kinds of bones should I be looking for? I am a novice at this.

                1. re: itryalot

                  Marrow bones work well. Use the same rosemary and thyme when simmering. Sometimes the color of the final gravy isn't quite what you want it to be. As a 'trick', pick up a bottle of 'browning' (a buck or two). Adds no flavor, but will give a rich brown color. Careful, a little goes a long way.

                  1. re: porker

                    Browning liquids such as Gravy Master and Kitchen Bouquet do add some flavor, and salt. Other possible additions for color and flavor are various forms of soy sauce (including hoisin, teriyaki marinade, etc) and dry instant soup packets like Onion or Beefy Mushroom.

                  2. re: itryalot

                    Unless there's a good amount of meat on the marrow bones, as in an osso buco type cut, you'd do well to buy a cheap, flavorful cut like a 7-bone chuck, separating it to espose maximum surface area and cubing the meat before oven-browning it. While you can make a chicken stock by cooking unbrowned bones with very little actual meat on them, the same process with beef bones will give you dishwater. You need the meat and the browning first in order to get a good stock.

              2. It sounds like you want more than just the jus that you'll get from deglazing the pan. So I'd start by making a nice nut-brown roux. Mix equal parts flour and fat (the fat that rendered out of the roast will have a nice beefy flavor, but you can use butter or vegetable oil if you want to do this ahead of time) and whisk over medium heat until it reaches the desired color. Don't wander off - the roux can go from brown to burnt in no time.

                Remove the roux from the heat and whisk a little at a time into a pint or two of simmering beef stock (homemade* or store-bought). Stop adding roux when the gravy base reaches the thickness you want. If you overshoot and get it too thick, thin it out with a little more beef stock (or water, but then you're diluting the flavor, which is the opposite of what you want to be doing).

                Deglaze the pan with red wine, scraping all the tasty bits off the bottom. Toss in herbs or other flavorings and boil until the wine is reduced by half, then strain it into the gravy base and whisk to combine. Taste, correct seasonings, and serve, preferably in Grandma's gravy boat.

                *For homemade stock, any kind of beef bones will do. This time of year rib bones may be the easiest to come by. I like to add some meat, too; bones make for good mouthfeel, but don't bring much flavor to the party. Chuck roast, hamburger, whatever's cheapest. Brown everything thoroughly and simmer for a long time with a little onion, carrot, and celery. (Or better yet, pressure-cook for an hour or two at 15 psi.) Strain, then reduce to concentrate the flavors.

                1. It seems to me that you have several different requirements, based on your posts of December 12 and December 13: (1) No thick brown, pasty gravy and (2) enough volume to your sauce for leftovers (Dec. 13 post).

                  I think that you have to decide first whether you want to make a flour (or other thickener) gravy or thicken up the sauce by reduction and/or other means. If your opinion is that all flour gravies are thick and pasty, then there is no sense in talking about a thickened gravy. (I realize that I am sounding a bit pedantic here. Please forgive me. I make lots of mistakes in the kitchen and do not hold myself out as any sort of expert.) Obviously, some of the later posters think that you ought to go the flour-thickened gravy route.

                  It seems to me that your aversion to "thick, pasty gravy" may be a result of either undercooking your roux, or more likely, based on your desire for gravy for leftovers, resulting from trying to stretch the gravy too far, by adding too much fat and flour and thinning out the intensity of the beef drippings which you are using. In other words, you can only stretch the amount of flavorful material you have (beef drippings) so far. Then, thick, pasty and bland takes over.

                  However, if you limit the amount of gravy you are going to make, and be sure to cook your roux thoroughly, you won't have the problem with the thick, pasty consistency you described.

                  On the other hand, if you want a much larger volume of sauce than what your beef roast will provide by using the traditional method for making gravy, you need to find another flavor base beyond the meaty flavor provided by the drippings/fond at the bottom of the roasting pan. To do that, you have to add in to your drippings a (preferably, reduced) beef stock or demiglace (a super reduced beef or other stock).

                  After that, you can add in whatever flavorings you want--rosemary, wine, thyme, garlic, and sauteed mushrooms seem good to me-- reduce the hell out the sauce at extremely low temperature in a big pot, preferably with lots of surface area to encourage evaporation, and, voila, you have a nice, thick sauce, without using any flour, cornstarch, potato starch, or arrow root. More importantly, you can make it in whatever quantity you need it.

                  1. I forgot to add: Williams-Sonoma has a killer beef demiglace in a jar, sort of an upscale version of Gravy Master, but infinitely better because it actually tastes good. The problem is that it costs about $30 for a jar of maybe 12 ounces (I don't remember exactly). But, hey, quality costs. I hope this helps.

                    1. Part 1: Make ahead success:

                      Now, I need to wait until the day of. Thanks all.