Last week I stashed away some of the pan drippings from my roasted duck in the cavern of my freezer. Usually that just gives the item an extended stay of execution before I eventually just chuck it curbside about a year or so later. However, the lucky duck got a second life this time instead. I also had some of the stock that I made in the rear of my fridge, which is pretty close to being in the freezer....I mean things back there actually do freeze. So with those ingredients at hand, I set off upon my gravy escapade, much like my paella adventure last week. Tackling the brown bits does take an inordinate amount of bravery in my book, so I consider this recipe to be almost a red badge of ceremonial courage. —Sagegreen
brown bits and pan drippings from a roast such as duck or turkey
red wine, pinot noir or malbec recommended
fresh grated ginger
cardamom pod, crushed
Hungarian paprika, sweet or smoked
kosher or pink Himalayan salt to taste
fresh milled pepper to taste
homemade stock, (stock that has gelled for you is best)
Cornelian cherry or sour cherry jam
homemade unsweetened apple sauce with cinnamon (mine from Roxbury Russets)
After chilling the brown bits and drippings from the roasting pan until the fat rises to the top in solid form, skim off as much fat off the top, as much as you possibly can.
Heat the brown bit drippings in a braising pan. Add the red wine and spices, whisking like a dervish. The mini whisk becomes your magic wand. A spooky dark concoction will bubble up in the pan. When reduced by about half the volume, stir in the jam and simmer slowly.
When bubbling, pour in the broth. Vigorously simmer; let this reduce. Add strained, homemade applesauce and continue to simmer. Taste the balance. If there is not enough acidity, add lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the liquid, however you are best equipped (chinois,cheesecloth, sieve). You can see my primitive method in one photo. Wring out the flavors by pressing with a wooden spoon. Return to a simmer in the pan. Season again.
Depending upon how thick and velvety the gravy is becoming, sift in some flour to finish and thicken to your liking over medium high heat. This may approximate 2 tablespoons, more or less. If by some chance you want this thin, you could leave the flour out, but I think it also helps temper the intensity of the flavors. When thick enough, test for taste; season if needed. When just right, transfer to a gravy boat and sail on to the table. My version yielded just over one cup.