I don't tend to make up many dry mixes in the kitchen, you know those concoctions that are supposed to be "time saving". I don't make up cake, scone or muffin mixes because I like gathering my baking ingredients; it's a comforting part of the process for me. I don't make up biscuit mix, hot chocolate mix or any toppings because it's too much of a temptation when they're sitting on the pantry shelf. Overall, I don't think they save much time at all.
There's one exception to this though - I like to have gravy mix pre-made so I don't have to gather ingredients in that short window of time between the roast vegetables and meat being ready and me serving up a hot meal. My gravy mix makes an excellent dark, flavoursome gravy when made with pan juices and it cuts the making time in half. I make it up in one cup lots and that generally sees me through two to three weeks.
My main mix is for plain gravy that I serve with roast pork but I also make one with homegrown rosemary for roast lamb and another with homegrown sage for roast chicken. These mixes really depend on your taste and what you have growing in the herb patch. I grow all my herbs and dry some of them. When I have dry rosemary and sage, I pulverise them in the mortar then add my other ingredients.
This plain gravy mix recipe will do any number of other dishes such as sausages, meatballs, steak, chops or casserole. The added bonus is that if you're trying to cut back on salt, you just reduce the amount or don't add it at all.
To make one cup of plain gravy mix:
- 1 cup of plain/all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon paprika - or more or less depending on your taste
- Salt and pepper to your taste
Mix ingredients together and store in a clean, dry jar.
To make a herb mix, simply make up the plain mix above and add your ground, dried herbs to the mix. About 2 teaspoons of the chosen herb will be enough, but taste it in your cooking and adjust it to your taste when you make your next batch. You could also add any spices you like such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli, onion or celery salt. Experiment and see what suits you.
To make the gravy:
- Add 2 tablespoons of the mix to pan juices in a frying or roasting pan.
- Stir the dry mix into the juices over a medium heat and allow to brown.
- Add 2 - 2½ cups cold water, or more for a thinner gravy. Mix the water in to the mix immediately to avoid lumps forming. Stir until the gravy is the right thickness, add more water to thin it down or allow to evaporate if it's too thin.
I like these simple mixes because they don't have the preservatives or artificial additives that the commercial mixes have, they cost a fraction of the price you'll pay in the supermarket and they're easy to make and store. Do you regularly make any totally from scratch sauce or gravy mixes?