The Sweet Ingredient Jamie Oliver Adds To His Holiday Gravy

Contrary to what some may believe, gravy is more than just a side dish on the dinner table. So while you're looking for tips and tricks about roasting a turkey for Christmas, making the creamiest mashed potatoes, and baking a crisp pie crust, you should also give your gravy the time and attention that it deserves.

Martha Stewart's gravy is all about getting the brown caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan into the liquid (via her website). Meanwhile, Padma Lakshmi simply mashes up the turkey juices and vegetables used in the roasting of the meat (via NYT Cooking). Giada De Laurentiis adds truffle salt to her gravy, while Ina Garten uses brandy and white wine in hers (via PopSugar). And Gordon Ramsay's gravy secret involves adding apple cider and walnuts (via YouTube).

For Jamie Oliver, it's a teaspoon or two of jam, as he revealed in a video shared on his YouTube channel. While jam in a gravy may seem like a kicker, he says that it's the secret ingredient to a silky gravy that is both sweet and tangy at the same time. He adds quince and cranberry jelly to his gravy, but stresses that it is important to add some sort of acid as well to balance the jam's sweetness. You could add any kind of vinegar, beer, or Worcestershire sauce, but he thinks that half a glass of red wine is the appropriate choice for a holiday as grand as Christmas.

Jamie Oliver has tons of gravy tricks up his sleeve

Adding jam with red wine to a holiday gravy may be a game-changer for many Christmases to come, but it's not the only trick Oliver has to share. If you're making gravy on Christmas Day and find yourself short of certain ingredients, Oliver suggests some easy swaps.

Per his website, you could substitute sherry or port with sweet or red wine. If you're out of onions, you could use leeks, and if you don't have enough of either carrots or celery, you could double the amount of the ingredient you have and skip the other. Additionally, onion chutney can be used in place of cranberry sauce, chicken carcass in place of chicken wings, and star anise in place of nutmeg.

He also has a recipe for gravy that can be made in advance, saving you a lot of stress and trouble if your Christmas Day is already packed with one too many things cooking on the stove. You can follow the recipe on his website to cook, cool, and freeze your gravy until it's time to put it on the dinner table. Once the frozen gravy is ready to be reheated and served, you can even spruce it up with a bit of blackberry jam, marmite, or veg Worcestershire sauce!