My house is smelling so good today! And the Packers and the Vikings are in overtime! It’s a happy Sunday afternoon.
It’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Regardless of whether I’m cooking for the two of us or for a houseful of family and guests, I always manage to have more ideas rambling around in my gray-haired head than I have people to eat. The luxury this year is that I’m trying a few different menu items. One of them is this make ahead turkey gravy. If you’re a Thanksgiving newbie, make ahead gravy will be a lifesaver. If you’ve been around the block once or twice like me, It’s so nice to have this part of the meal finished. After three hours and a few simple ingredients, you’ll have a flavorful, rich, deep brown turkey broth for gravy and to transform servings of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes into a Thanksgiving masterpiece.
I’m using my grandmother’s Guardian Service roaster – I love this roaster. I sprayed the bottom with vegetable cooking spray. Add two turkey legs, or you could use turkey wings, salt and pepper the poultry, four stalks of celery with leaves each cut into thirds, a large onion cut into quarters peel intact, and four large cloves of fresh garlic. Drizzle the mix with a little olive to promote browning. Put the roaster into a 375°F oven for two hours.
Take the roaster out of the oven. Can you see all the rich, deep brown drippings on the bottom of the roaster? That’s what’s going to make this stock beautiful. Add six cups of water or a combination of chicken stock and water, and bring it all to a boil on the stove for another hour. Guess what? The house smells like heaven, and I’m rapidly getting into the holiday spirit.
Allow the liquid to cool for a little bit. Using a strainer, drain off the liquid, and there you have it.
At this point, you can go ahead and make the gravy to store in the refrigerator – just warm it at meal time. Or you can transfer the stock into a container, and wait until Thanksgiving to make the gravy. I’m going to store the stock, so I can add drippings from the bird to make even more gravy. I figure you can’t have too much gravy. This way, too, I can remove the fat from the stock.
You know what I did with the turkey leg meat? Turned it into turkey tetrazzini!
Let’s Make Gravy!
To put it all together, make a roux in a large saucepan with 4 Tablespoons melted butter and 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, so the raw flour taste cooks out. Add 2 cups of the turkey stock. Stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of milk or cream, a teaspoon of apple cider (for a little tang) or a Tablespoon of cognac or brandy (for a richer taste). Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Heat the gravy until it is bubbling. Stir, turn down the heat, and keep warm on the stove, until you’re ready to serve. Don’t worry if a film forms over the top. Just whisk the gravy, and it will dissolve.
Make sure the gravy has a pourable consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more turkey stock. If it’s too thin, here’s a trick my mother used. She put 1/4 cup of warm water in a small glass jar with a lid, and added 2 Tablespoons of flour. Secure the lid, and shake until the flour is dissolved. Slowly drip into the gravy, whisking constantly. Add just enough of the flour slurry to reach the desired consistency. You may not need the whole jar.
As the tension mounts on Thanksgiving Day for serving, the gravy is always the last mealtime item to prepare. Give yourself a breather with Make Ahead Turkey Gravy!
- 2 turkey wings or turkey legs
- 4 ribs of celery, each stalk cut into thirds
- 1 large onion, cut into chunks
- 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled, peeled or smashed
- 6 cups water or 3 cups water and 3 cups chicken stock
- For The Gravy
- 4 Tablespoons melted butter
- 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups turkey stock, strained and defatted
- ½ cup whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or 1 Tablespoon cognac or brandy
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a dutch oven or small roaster, place the turkey wings or legs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add chopped vegetables and garlic. Roast for 2 hours.
- Remove roaster to the stove top. Add water/chicken stock. Bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for one hour.
- All the liquid to slightly cool. Strain the liquid into a large bowl. Line the strainer with cheesecloth or paper toweling.
- Pour into a storage container, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To Make The Gravy
- In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour, and whisk together. Cook the butter/flour mixture for a minute or two to cook out the raw taste of the flour.
- Add the turkey stock, and whisk until thickened.
- Add milk, cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Keep warm on the stove until ready to serve.
- If the gravy is too thick, add a little more stock. If it is too thin, in a jar, shake together ¼ cup warm water with 2 Tablespoons of flour to make a slurry. While whisking the gravy, slowly add the slurry until the desired consistency.
Gently modified from noblepig.com