This recipe is inspired by my mother-in-law’s Madeira gravy but I’ve adjusted the seasoning and pared down the ingredients a bit so it is quicker and easier to make. It goes beautifully with roast beef or pork, and particularly with Beef Wellington (Boeuf en Croute). When I served it to guests for the first time recently they said it was so tasty they could have eaten it on its own with a spoon, and I confess I could have too.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1¼ cups beef stock (made from a cube is fine)
2 tablespoons tomato paste or puree
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped or ½ teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1 generous tablespoon redcurrant or cranberry jelly
1 tablespoons corn flour blended with 2 tablespoons cold water
½ cup Madeira wine
2 generous pinches of ground pepper or to taste
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and sauté the onion over medium heat until it is beginning to become translucent. Add the stock, the tomato puree or paste, the thyme and the bay leaf, stirring to blend well. Stir in the redcurrant or cranberry jelly, stirring until it is dissolved. Bring just to the boil, then turn back the heat to low and simmer for about fifteen minutes.
Strain the mixture through a sieve into a clean saucepan, discarding the onion and bay leaf. Whisk in the corn flour and water mixture. This will cause the stock to thicken fairly quickly. Cook, stirring constantly for a minute or so. Add the Madeira, a bit at a time, whisking constantly. Add a pinch of pepper and whisk it in, taste and add a bit more if necessary.
Pour into a gravy boat and serve alongside roast beef, pork or Beef Wellington.