Dirty chicken gravy

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

"Dirty like the colour of mud, and delicious like the greatest gravy you've ever tasted, this sensational sauce has a super-chickeny flavour and just begs to be served with mashed potato," says Llewellyn.

  • 6 chicken carcasses
  • 2 heads of garlic, halved
  • 4 onions, halved
  • 2 carrots, halved
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 litres (8 cups) salt-reduced chicken stock
  • 12 thyme sprigs
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • To taste: lemon juice
  • 2 dashes of Hartsyard hot sauce
  • 60 gm roasted chicken fat, melted (see note)
  •  
  • Roux
  • 125 gm lard
  • 75 gm (½ cup) plain flour
01   Preheat oven to 175C. Chop each chicken carcass into 4 or 5 bits and set half aside. Set half the garlic, onion, carrot and celery aside. Put the remaining chicken bones and vegetables in a large roasting pan. Roast until the bones are a deep, rich brown (about 1¼ hours). Transfer the roasted bones, vegetables and all the fat from the pan to a stockpot. Add stock, half the thyme and half the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cook, uncovered, over low heat for 2 hours, periodically skimming the impurities from the surface. Strain (discard solids).
02   Meanwhile, repeat the roasting process with reserved chicken bones and vegetables. Transfer roasted bones, vegetables and all the fat into a medium stockpot. Add the strained cooking liquid from the previous stock, and the remaining thyme> and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 2 hours, periodically skimming the impurities from the surface. This is your gravy.
03   When the gravy is nearly ready, make your roux. Melt lard in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour, then cook over low heat until the flour starts to turn golden brown (about 15 minutes). Cook for a further 5 minutes; the flour will become fragrant.
04   Strain gravy into a smaller stockpot (discard solids). Add roux (it will bind the fats and liquids in the gravy) and cook over medium heat until reduced by half (about 500ml). The mixture should be a rich brown colour and will thicken as it boils; it should easily coat the back of a spoon. Strain into a bowl and season with lots of freshly ground black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and hot sauce. Slowly whisk in the chicken fat, and you’re ready to serve.

Note For chicken fat, ask your butcher for 500gm chicken skin, thoroughly rinse and dry the skin and place in a stockpot with 5 litres water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, then cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes until the water has evaporated. The water will break down the skin, the fat will come out of the skin and rise to the surface; the skin will start to brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low and, using a metal spatula, scrape the skin off the base of the pot. Continue to render the skin in its own fat until it becomes golden brown; the fat will remain a liquid throughout. Drain the skin on paper towels; it will become crisp as it cools. Turn off the heat and leave the fat to cool for about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Makes about 250gm. This recipe is from Fried Chicken & Friends ($49.99, hbk) by Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart, published by Murdoch Books and has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.

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