RED WINE JUS

In French cuisine, jus is a natural way to enhance the flavour of dishes, mainly chicken, veal and lamb.

'Jus' means the natural juices given off by the food. To prepare a natural jus, the cook skims off the fat from the juices left after cooking and brings the remaining meat stock and water to a boil.

Jus can be frozen for six months or longer, but the flavour may suffer if kept longer than this. Ideally, prepare it and use it.


INGREDIENTS

·         Olive oil, about 2 tbps

·         Butter, a knob

·         Finely chopped carrot, small onion (or 2 shallots) and stalk of celery

·         A clove of garlic, crushed

·         Sprig of thyme

·         A glass of red wine

·         Beef or chicken stock

NOTE: Four parts stock to one part wine

TIP: Don't use cheap wine; certainly use something you would happily drink, you are, after all, only going to use a glass of it. The better the wine, the better the jus.


METHOD

1. Heat the olive oil and butter combined in a skillet or other deep-sided pan

2. Add the chopped vegetables, and stir

3. Now add the garlic and thyme, and stir some more so that you gently sauté the vegetables to the point of caramelisation, but no further. This will enhance the flavour of the jus.

4. Add the red wine, and cook for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off.

5. Add the stock, slowly, and stir to blend everything together.

6. Allow to reduce for 5 to 10 minutes, to help intensify the flavour. Reduce to about half the original quantity.

7. Remove from the heat and pour the jus through a sieve, and push the vegetables to extract as much juice as possible.

TIP: If the jus is not as thick as you would like it, return the jus to the heat and reduce some more, but keep an eye on it, or it will all disappear.

You can also stir in a knob of butter at this stage to give the jus a bit more substance.

8. Pour the finished jus into a gravy boat or jug and serve immediately.