If there was one culinary word which used to annoy me (other than the overuse of “fusion”) it would have to be “jus”.
I’m a Northerner and it’s called gravy. Don’t start faffing about with your fancy pants words. It’s just thin gravy.
That being said, it turns out that there is a difference. Gravy is thickened with cornstarch or something similar while jus is a reduction which naturally thickens. I’m not going to Google the etymology or history of the 2 because anyone can do that. I am, instead, going to offer my own exposition on the 2.
Gravy is thickened with something because there needs to be a lot of it. It’s a family thing. Sunday lunch, massive slab of meat, loads of veggies, Yorkshire pudding and just in front of you, its contents dripping from the spout, a massive jug of gravy.
Jus is reduced because it’s only there to complement the meat. You only need a little bit of it to bring out the juicy sweetness and meatiness. It’s got a fancy name because it’s a fancy product. And because there’s no flour thickening, it’s also gluten free. Just throwing that in there
So, when I came to own a lovely piece of pork tenderloin (for 89p in the bargain section of the supermarket), I knew that this wasn’t a time for gravy. It was a time to let that wonderful piece of meat shine through. It needed a little sauce on top to get those tastebuds watering. This mother flipper needed some jus.
So, I gathered up a few jus related things and set about making one up. I took a massive risk with this because I don’t think I’ve ever actually made proper gravy. I’m just not really a Sunday lunch type of guy. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat them. It’s just that my mother’s are so fantastic, I worry that whatever I make will be a disappointment to me and the entire white side of my lineage. It’s the same reason I don’t make curries. Granny does it better.
The jus turned out to be fairly easy, despite the fact that I made a couple of large mistakes. These mistakes, however, were easily fixed. For example, I used the wrong salt. I know what you’re thinking… Salt is salt, how do you screw that up? Well, let me tell you a story.
We have 3 kinds of salt in our house at the moment:
- Every day table salt
- Sea Salt
- These massive Himalayan Pink Salt pebbles
When I was making the jus, I thought I’d be all crazy and what not and use the Pink Salt. Turns out that a teaspoon of those is basically a ladle of table salt. So it tasted like something Daniel Craig would drink after Le Chiffre has just poisoned him.
Did you know that if your sauce/whatever is too salty, there is a really easy fix? Just throw in some water, half a few potatoes and leave them in it. I’m going to assume that osmosis is involved because I paid attention in GCSE biology but the potato, somehow, removes a lot of the salt.
Second mistake, I forgot to hold my thumb over the balsamic vinegar bottle as I poured. So it was less a drizzle and more of a flood. That one just needed some water and a few more herbs, then, left alone on the heat to reduce.
So, the final product. Let’s go:
3 Shallots or Sweet Onions
1 Punnet Blackberries
1 Cup White Wine
Table Salt (to taste)
Uncle Roy’s Flowers of Scotland (I honestly can’t recommend this enough for gravies and meats. It just tastes incredible but is still really subtle)
Drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar
Juice of Half an Orange (Fresh)
Drizzle of Honey (just to balance out the tartness)
- Finely slice (or blitz) the shallots and garlic
- Heat up your oil
- Throw in the shallots etc. with the Flowers of Scotland
- Let them fry down, when the shallots begin to turn clear, throw in your white wine and drizzle over your honey. It’s like fancy caramelisation
- Give it about 5 minutes and then throw in your blackberries
- Roughly stir it all, squash it to get the most out of the berries
- Grate your orange over, stir and then squeeze over your orange juice
- Throw in some black pepper, a pinch of salt and give it a taste. If it needs more, add more
- If it seems a little thick or if there’s not a lot of sauce, add in about half a cup of water, stir it all through and leave it to reduce
This is one of the few recipes I do which does require a bit of supervision. If you leave it alone and it burns, you’ve just wasted everything in that pan because you will not get the taste of burning out of it. So keep watching it and stirring it. It doesn’t take long. I’d guess it takes about 1 beer to make this. Maybe 1 and a half.
There you go, a fancy ass jus which goes perfectly with pork tenderloin.