Prep Time: 4-6hrs Cooking Time: 0 Serves: Makes 450ml

If people start making chocolate gravy by grating a little cacao into their gravy at Christmas time, I’ll know I’ve succeeded. It is truly one of the great enrichers of flavour and the secret to a great gravy whatever your meat.

willie's cacao recipes


2 organic or free-range chicken or duck carcasses or 4 kilos of fresh beef or lamb or venison or pork bones 

Roughly chopped: 4 carrots, 2 sticks celery, 4 large onions 

450ml red wine with 2 litres of water if you are using chicken or duck or 1 bottle of red wine for red meat gravies 

4 black peppercorns 

2 bay leaves 

Few sprigs of fresh thyme 

4 tsp grated cacao. Willie suggests Venezuelan Black100% Carenero Cacao

Optional for lamb and venison graviesl:1-2 tbsp of quince or redcurrant jelly

Step by step photographic guide

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Preheat the oven to 180°C 

Roast the bones / carcasses until sizzling and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and place in a large pan with the carrots, celery, onion, red wine, peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme. 

Add enough water to cover the ingredients, and simmer gently for 4 hours. For the first 2 hours or until the scum is clean looking, skim off the scum every 30 minutes 

Strain the stock and return to a clean pan. 

Reduce to 450ml by boiling fairly rapidly until rich and concentrated

Remove any fat from the surface. Add the grated cacao and stir until melted into the gravy. Season with salt and pepper.

At this point you can also add redcurrant or quince jelly to your lamb or venison gravies

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