During the month of November I probably spoke to and emailed back and forth with my mom and/or my sister a thousand times to consult on food issues. One day I was asking my mom how she makes her pan gravy for Thanksgiving because I was going to the grocery store and wanted to get anything I needed (like nasty turkey parts or something). The next morning in my inbox was a complete article from the New York Times on making pan gravy AHEAD OF TIME. Did someone say “ahead of time”? That’s my favorite thing! So I went to the grocery store and picked up the nasty bits that I would need to make a nice flavorful gravy (yes, I had to call again from the store for an additional consult). The gravy came out wonderfully and I would definitely do this in the future to save time on the big day. It was so nice not to have to make gravy right after the turkey was done cooking.
Turkey Gravy from Scratch
Source: The New York Times
Time: About 9 hours, plus cooling
Yield: 3 quarts, about 20 servings.
For the Turkey Stock:
4 tablespoons butter, more if necessary for gravy, and for seasoning (optional)
6 turkey legs or other dark meat turkey parts (thighs, wings, etc.), to make about 6 pounds
Salt and black pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and stuck with 3 cloves
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 stalks celery with leaves, trimmed and cut into large chunks
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
1 cup white wine, Madeira, vermouth, dry sherry or water
For the Gravy:
12 tablespoons ( 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper.
For the stock: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle turkey parts with salt and pepper, place in roasting pan and brush with melted butter. Roast 2 hours, basting with butter every 20 minutes or so.
Transfer roasted turkey to a stockpot and set roasting pan aside. Add onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns to stockpot. Add cold water just to cover, bring to a simmer and cook, slightly uncovered, about 6 hours.
Meanwhile, place roasting pan on top of stove and bring juices to a simmer over low heat. Pour in wine (or water), stirring and scraping to bring up browned bits. (If using wine, simmer at least 5 minutes.) Pour all liquid into a bowl and refrigerate. When deglazing liquid is cool, lift off top layer of fat; reserve fat. Add deglazing liquid to stockpot.
When stock is golden and flavorful, strain into a large container and refrigerate. When cool, lift off fat and mix it with reserved fat from deglazing liquid. Reserve 3 quarts stock for gravy and refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.
For the gravy: In a deep skillet or large heavy pot, melt 12 tablespoons ( 3/4 cup) reserved turkey fat over medium heat. If you do not have enough turkey fat, use additional butter to make 3/4 cup. Gradually whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking, until golden brown and toasty-smelling, 3 to 5 minutes or longer for darker gravy.
Whisk in a small amount of stock (this prevents lumps), then add remainder more quickly and whisk until smooth. Simmer, continually whisking, until thickened. If too thick, thin with more stock or a little wine and simmer briefly. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, whisk in a few tablespoons cold butter to smooth and enrich gravy.
To make ahead: Gravy can be made up to a month ahead. It freezes well in plastic containers or bags. Thaw in refrigerator or over low heat. Whisk in a little water if it appears curdled or too thick.
Note: Recipe can be halved to make about 6 cups gravy. Or for more gravy, use remaining stock and add 1 tablespoon fat and 1 tablespoon flour to the roux in Step 5 for each cup additional stock.