A Rich English Brown Gravy


Brown lightly and carefully from four to six ounces of lean ham, thickly sliced and cut into large dice; lift these out, and put them into the pan in which the gravy is to be made; next, fry lightly also, a couple of pounds of neck of beef dredged moderately with flour, and slightly with pepper; put this, when it is done, over the ham; and then brown gently and add to them two or three eschalots, or a Portugal onion; should neither of these be at hand, one not large common onion must be used instead. Pour over these ingredients a quart of boiling water, or of weak but well-flavoured broth; bring the whole slowly to a boil, clear off the scum with great care, throw in a saltspoonful of salt, four cloves, a blade of mace, twenty corns of pepper, a bunch of savoury herbs, a carrot, and a few slices of celery: these last two may be fried or not as is most convenient. Boil the gravy very softly until it is reduced to little more than a pint; strain, and set it by until the fat can be taken from it. Heat it anew, add more salt if needed and a little mushroom catsup, cayenne-vinegar, or whatever flavouring it may require for the dish with which it is to be served; it will seldom require any thickening. A dozen small mushrooms prepared as for pickling, or two or three morels, previously well washed and soaked, may be added to it at first with advantage. Half this quantity of gravy will be sufficient for a single tureen, and the economist can diminish a little the proportion of meat when it is thought too much.