Easy three-step, gloriously rich and thick, do-ahead turkey gravy recipe that makes everything easier...
This gravy makes Thanksgiving day a breeze by making gloriously rich and thick gravy ahead of time by using turkey parts. This recipe is adapted from The Best of America's Test Kitchen, so you know its good! One may also add drippings from the roasted turkey on Thanksgiving Day if desired. It can be refrigerated up to three days, or frozen up to 3 months.
It all starts with a plan. When will you make the gravy? Here is my bare-bones Thanksgiving plan:
- Up to a week before (if it is a large bird), or the weekend before Thanksgiving - defrost the turkey. If I am making fresh cranberry relish I do it now.
- Tuesday - Make Gravy, remove the turkey giblets, neck, and wings and make stock. I often also add the backbone if I am butterflying the turkey. Many side dishes may be made now or Wednesday.
- Wednesday - Brine the turkey. I brine in a heave duty trash bag, pulled tight. If I don't have room in my fridge I use a cooler fill it with ice. Make pies.
- Thursday - Roast or smoke turkey
For more timeline strategies see Cooks Illustrated Thanksgiving Cooking Timeline.
Okay we have our plan - now it's gravy making day!
MAKES ABOUT 6 CUPS
Author: Adapted from The best of America's Test Kitchen a production of A La Carte Communications
Reserved giblets, neck, tailpiece, wings, trimmed fat from turkey, and backbone (if butterflying turkey)
3 medium carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
2 rib celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium onions, chopped coarse
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons light oil (such as canola)
8 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth (Did I mention it needs to be low sodium?)
2 cups dry white wine or sherry (if you object to the wine replace with an equal amount of chicken broth with the addition of white wine vinegar at the rate of 1 tablespoon per cup of broth).
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small bunch fresh parley
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and ground black pepper
Instructions in Three Easy Steps
First let's make the stock.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place turkey trimmings, trimmed fat from turkey, and giblets, carrot, celery, onions, and garlic in plastic bag and add 2 tablespoons oil. Close bag and shake contents to coat.
- Turn out bag contents onto a large heavy roasting pan or broiler pan bottom.
- Roast, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until browned and crispy, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven, and place over burners on high heat; add chicken stock and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan with wooden spoon or spatula.
- Transfer contents of pan to large saucepan. Remove liver, and discard (Spot, my Editorial and Procurement Assistant, insists this need to be edited to read "cool and give to the home's loyal companion"). Add wine, 3 cups water, parley, and thyme; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Strain stock with colander into large heat safe container. Cool to room temperature; cover, and refrigerate until fat congeals on surface, about 2 hours.
Next make the roux and gravy (this could be done the next day if you are busy)
- Skim fat from stock; reserve fat for making the roux. Pour stock through fine-mesh strainer to remove remaining bits and discard. Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- In second medium saucepan, heat reserved approximately 1/2 to 2/3 cup turkey fat over medium-high heat until bubbling; whisk in flour and cook, stirring continually, until combined and dark caramel-colored, about 2 minutes.
- Continuing to whisk constantly, gradually add hot stock; bring to boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring intermittently, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Gravy can be refrigerated up to 3 days, or frozen up to 3 months).
On the Celebration Day
After turkey comes out of oven, rejoice that most of your work is already done! Heat gravy over medium heat until hot and assess its thickness. If gravy is thick one may add some pan drippings to thin out.