If there’s one thing that can cause anxiety in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, it’s gravy. That delicious, liquid gold we love to lavish on turkey and potatoes can be a little bit tricky to master, but my list of dos and don’ts will help you to reach gravy zen. There’s a fantastic simple equation for perfect Thanksgiving gravy and it goes like this: 1/2 cup turkey drippings + 1/2 cup flour + 8 cups broth = gravy for a crowd. Feel free to halve the recipe (1/4 cup turkey drippings + 1/4 cup flour + 4 cups broth = gravy for a family). Follow this recipe with my tips and you’ll be the gravy master you’ve always dreamed of. (You’ve always dreamed of that, right?)
Classic Turkey Gravy
adapted from Food Network Magazine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Neck and giblets from turkey (discard the liver)
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh sage
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup turkey drippings
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
After putting your turkey in the oven, heat a large sauce pan on the stove. Add the butter, onion, neck and giblets and sauté until the giblets have browned. Add the chicken broth, fresh herbs and bay leaf. Cover and simmer while the turkey roasts, about 2 hours. Strain the broth and keep it warm. Once the turkey has finished roasting and is removed from the pan, add about a 1/2 cup of the broth to the bottom of the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits (they are flavor boosters!) into the liquid. Pour the drippings into a degreasing cup to help separate the fats. Allow it to settle for a few minutes, causing the fat to rise to the top of the cup. Spoon 1/2 cup of fat from the cup and add it to another large saucepan on medium heat. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour into the pan and stir constantly to create a smooth roux. Continue stirring until mixture begins to brown (3-5 minutes). Begin adding broth to the roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. (Use a whisk for best results.) Once all the broth has been added, bring the mixture to a boil for 60 seconds and then reduce heat to medium low. Add in chopped giblets and shredded neck meat if desired, as well as Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir occasionally while simmering until gravy thickens to desired consistency.
And now for my dos and don’ts!
DO make your own gravy, especially on Thanksgiving. The canned stuff is not worthy of your Thanksgiving turkey!
DON’T worry if your gravy gets too thick. Thin it out with water, broth, or even a splash of bourbon.
DO add a final pat of butter before serving to give it a silky, rich texture.
DON’T worry about lumps. You can eliminate them with an emulsion blender or a strainer.
DO be sure to cook your roux until it’s golden brown. Browning cooks the flour and keeps the gravy from tasting like flour.
DON’T neglect it for too long on the stove. The occasional stir will keep it from scorching. If, by chance, it does scorch, refrain from scraping the scorched part from the bottom of the pan. What remains on top is still okay.
DO make the larger batch—even people who don’t like gravy will love this recipe!
Happy gravy everyone!