This past weekend was a big deal. For the Americans among you, it was Thanksgiving, which I hear makes for your biggest travel day of the year; for Dave and I and 12 friends, it was Friends Thanksgiving*, aka a potluck in which every guest brought a favourite family Thanksgiving dish and we toasted to friendships new and old. Needless to say, a feast ensued.
As our contribution to the potluck, Dave made a roast beef, and I made Finnish Sweet Bread (which I forgot about until dessert), and my grandmother’s Madeira gravy, which is one of the most decadent parts of big family dinners with my mum’s family. It’s a rich gravy, thick with mushrooms and the distinctive taste of Madeira. I wouldn’t be sad to eat it every day.
Take, for example, the day AFTER Friends Thanksgiving, when our kitchen was still in a partial shambles and we woke up hungry in the late edge of morning. Dave went down the block to get us coffee; I called my dad for the recipe of his leftover-roast-and-gravy sandwich.
This sandwich is happy-making food. It’s melt-in-your-mouth, forget-your-hangover, life-is-incredible good. It relies on your leftovers. It negates any near-freezing drizzle going on outside. And it’s worth sharing with the people you care about.
Notes: Love this gravy? Double the recipe and freeze some for a rainy/snowy day. Was your roast overcooked? Leftovers cooked like this melt in your mouth. It’s Madeira gravy magic.
*It may have been Friends Thanksgiving, but the whole event relied pretty heavily on family to come together well. Dave’s parents supplied what our kitchen was missing, like a roasting pan and more than 6 dinner knives; his sister offered up her oven in case of overflow; my mum directed us on how to roast our cut of meat; and my dad, king of lunches, made sure this sandwich came together; and my brother had us over for dinner on Sunday night, when we were all cooked out. Thanks, family.
Roast Beef & Madeira Gravy Sandwiches
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup Madeira gravy, warm
1/2 cup leftover roast beef, chopped
2 slices of your favourite bread, toasted
1. In a frying pan over medium heat, saute the onions in a drizzle of olive oil. When onions have become soft and translucent, add the chopped roast beef and stir. Let heat through (1-2 minutes), then remove from heat.
2. Assemble the sandwich: Arrange the beef-onion mixture on one slice of bread; top with gravy and second slice of bread. Eat immediately.
Shirley’s Madeira Gravy
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp flour
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Madeira wine
1. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until golden. Add flour and stir to combine. Let it continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned (15-20 minutes). Add the white wine; cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock. Bring to boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Strain the sauce through a sieve, and return to the pan. Add sliced mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add Madeira wine and allow to simmer for a final 5 minutes. Serve over red meats.