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How to stir up a lip-smacking Bovril gravy

By June 23, 2023December 1st, 2023FinGlobal

How to stir up a lip-smacking Bovril gravy

June 23, 2023


Have you ever fully prepped yourself for tucking into a seemingly average mash and gravy meal only to find yourself hmm-hmm-hmm-ing your way through a glorious plate of seconds because the gravy is just that good?

Don’t worry; we’re not in the business of judging here. In fact, many a lunchtime aroma wafting our way has made us a little more curious about what makes for the most delicious gravy. While researching through millions of recipes (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration there), we came across the outright winner. So, roll out the flamboyant red carpet, prep the crowds, and blast those trumpets because today, we’re flinging a great lip-smacking Bovril gravy recipe your way. But first, we’d like to educate you on Bovril’s health benefits.

Is bovril good for you?

Well, let’s be honest, the leading of all the Bovril benefits is that it makes a delicious gravy. But in addition to that, several reasons confirm Bovril is indeed rather good for you. First, Bovril is high in B vitamins and protein, which means it’s healthy to a degree. But there’s need a for a heads-up and a disclaimer here. Unfortunately, it should not be a go-to for people who have high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart disease, as it’s high in sodium.

But first, a little something you didn’t know about Bovril

The delicious goopy-thick brown-black liquid you know as Bovril was invented by a Scotsman. His name was John Lawson Johnston, and he invented the product after he was awarded a contract to provide the French Army (yes, Napoleon was in charge at the time) with one million cans of beef in the 1870s.

A million cans of beef was no easy task, and Johnston soon discovered that the whole of Britain didn’t have enough beef to service his order. So he got a bit creative and developed the product from beef extract, which he called “Johnston’s Fluid Beef” at the time.

We’re not sure if Johnston ever thought his delicious product would make it beyond the French Army, but the fact is that Johnston’s Fluid Beef was being served in over 3,000 grocery stores and pubs by 1888. And that’s probably why you’ve tasted Bovril. And just in case you’re wondering, its name changed from “Johnston’s Fluid Beef” to “Bovril” in 1886.

Bovril is now a much-loved brand owned by Unilever (they acquired it in 2001). How? James Goldsmith’s Cavenham Foods acquired the product and brand in 1971 but later sold all its enterprises to finance various takeovers he was carrying out. Unilever purchased Bovril in 2001.

The best Bovril gravy recipe we’ve found

Can you make gravy with Bovril? Of course, you can! You don’t even need to ask. So without much further ado, we’ll tell you how. But we can’t take credit for this one. The recipe idea comes from the Head Chef, Joe Rozier, at The Mariners Pub by Paul Ainsworth. We exchanged his recipes’ call for “quality stock” with Bovril and added a few elements of our own. See what we did there? We found the secret ingredients: Bovril + creativity!

You’ll need to grab some beef bones with meat trimmings from your local butcher for this one! You don’t need a huge amount – about half a kg will do!

What you need

  • 1kg beef bones with meat trimmings
  • Black peppercorns
  • 2 smashed garlic cloves
  • 3 medium-sized thinly sliced mushrooms
  • Fresh thyme and rosemary (a handful)
  • 1 tablespoon of Bovril
  • Bisto
  • 500ml of hot water

What to do

A good Bovril recipe is easy to make but still takes time and care to perfect. Here’s what to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius – it’s important only to place the ingredients into the oven when the correct temperature has been reached
  • Place the beef bones and meat trimmings into a roasting pan, add a light sprinkle of salt, and roast them for 45 minutes to 1 hour before removing them from the heat (leave the oven on)
  • Mix the Bovril into the hot water and then add the smashed garlic and sliced mushrooms and stir it in – let this sit for around 5 minutes
  • Pour the mixture over the bones – this should just cover the bones and will form the basis of your gravy
  • Add the black peppercorns, thyme, and rosemary to the pan and move things around to ensure that they are covered with the liquid
  • Place the roasting pan back into the oven and allow the gravy to infuse for around 3 hours on low heat – the gravy should not boil at any point, but a slight/gentle simmer is okay
  • When ready, pour the gravy off the bones, strain it into a jug or bowl
  • Now, for a thicker gravy, you can use Bisto to thicken it to your desired consistency

All that’s left to do is smother your mashed potatoes and other veggies with it – yum!

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