What do you do when you want to make gravy ahead? Or when you don’t have any pan drippings (such as with a Grilled Turkey!) to provide color, flavor, and caramelization? Well, I don’t know what you would do, but I know what I would do! I would layer flavors by browning and rendering turkey parts, adding wine, using fresh herbs, and letting the stock simmer slowly, ending up with a tasty make ahead turkey gravy with no drippings required.
Sometimes, like when I’m making a grilled turkey, there isn’t any way to make my usual pan gravy. And turkey just isn’t right without gravy! So, I developed an easy way to extract flavor and make a tasty, brown gravy without any drippings.
Because I don’t know about your family, but I think there would be riot in mine if there weren’t any gravy. 🙂
You can make this gravy the day before as a make ahead turkey gravy, make the stock the day before and the gravy the day of, or do the whole thing while the turkey is resting and cooking. It requires a pot and skillet, along with a few utensils, and takes about an hour from start to finish, so it’s pretty flexible. And simple. Things that I like when I have so much else to do to get dinner on the table.
A lot of make ahead gravy recipes call for roasting turkey parts and then deglazing the roasting pan and then simmering everything in a stockpot and then straining it into a new pot and then making the gravy.
Wow. That’s a lot of pots and pans to wash!
One thing I don’t need at holidays and big get-togethers is more pots to wash. Even if I can do the work and wash the pots ahead of time! Since this always seemed like too much work, I make the gravy in my stockpot right on the stove and skip the oven entirely. Half the time I don’t even strain the stock into a new container but rather strain it directly into the skillet for my gravy.
Now, you will need to keep an eye on the stockpot to move the turkey pieces around and make sure it doesn’t burn, but I prefer that to washing the roasting pan.
For make ahead turkey gravy:
- brown turkey parts – the backbone, neck, and/or wings
- brown aromatics – onion, celery, citrus peels
- deglaze with white wine
- cover with water and let simmer – adding herbs and giblets at this point
- make a roux and strain the stock into the skillet
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- turkey parts - such as wings, neck, backbone, and other trimmings
- 2 medium shallots
- other aromatics - such as citrus peel and celery
- 1 cup white wine
- 6 cups water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- herbs - such as sage, thyme, and parsley
- turkey giblets
- 3 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning or more fresh, chopped sage
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the turkey stock: In a large, heavy stock pot, saute the turkey parts, shallots, and aromatics over medium heat until they are a deep brown all over and you have a far amount of brown color on the bottom of the pot, about 15 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, stir to deglaze the pot, and simmer until reduced by half, 2-3 minutes. Add the water, salt, herbs, and giblets. Bring to a simmer and let the stock just barely simmer (a few bubbles) for 30 minutes - 45 minutes. Strain the stock into a bowl or container.
For the turkey gravy: Pour the turkey stock into a saucepan and bring it just to a simmer. In a large, high sided skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it into the butter. Continue cooking, whisking continuously, until the roux is a light, golden color. Slowly add the stock, still whisking continuously, until all the stock has been added. Bring the gravy to a boil and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the gravy has thickened. Taste the gravy, then add the poultry seasoning (or sage), salt and pepper, as needed.
- All together the stock or gravy can be refrigerated for up to three days. If you have stored the stock for a few days, make the gravy the day of; however, you can also go right through and make the gravy ahead and store that for three days. (Don't store the stock in the fridge for three days and then store the gravy!)
- Alternatively, you can freeze the stock for up to 3 months and then thaw and use.
For my grilled turkey recipe, I used the neck and backbone and a few trimmings from the turkey to make the stock. If you aren't butterflying the turkey, get a couple of turkey wings for the stock.
- You don't need to use poultry seasoning in the gravy. For me, it doesn't taste quite right without it (childhood memories), so I add a teaspoon or two to the gravy. Fresh sage, or thyme, or some parsley does give the gravy a nice flavor.
- The gravy isn't terribly thick. If you like a very thick gravy, you can use another 1 tbsp of flour + another tbsp of butter in the roux. Or make a slurry of water and cornstarch (1 tbsp cornstarch + 1/4 cup water) and add it a little at a time at the end until the gravy has thickened to your liking.
- The recipe makes 6 cups of gravy.