• 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 reserved chicken backbone (see recipe, below), chopped or snapped into pieces
  • carrot trimmings and peels (see recipe, below), finely chopped
  • ½ large onion, plus the whole skin
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
  • 100ml wine port or sherry (or use water)
  • 2 chicken or beef stock cubes or pots


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oil in a wide, shallow pan over a medium heat and spend at least 10 mins browning the chicken backbone pieces – the darker the colour, the more flavourful the gravy will be. Add the carrot trimmings, onion and onion skins, and cook for 3-4 mins over a high heat until well browned. Scatter over the sugar and cook until it starts to caramelise, then tip in the flour and cook to a sticky, light brown paste.

  • STEP 2

    Splash in the soy sauce, if using, then pour in the wine or water and simmer for a few minutes until reduced and thickened. Stir in 1 litre water from the kettle, add the stock cubes and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 40 mins, then sieve into another saucepan and season to taste. Stir in any resting juices from the chicken. Reheat when ready to serve. Can be made a day ahead and chilled, then reheated the next day.

Recipe tip

The gravy can be made and cooked in a pressure cooker on a medium setting for 20 mins. Sieve before serving. Alternatively, cook the gravy in a slow cooker on low for 6 hrs before sieving.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2022

Goes well with


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