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Do You Add Wine To Your Turkey Gravy?

Funwithfood Nov 21, 2004 09:32 AM

Last year I used a recipe which added Sercial Madiera to the gravy. Some recipes call for a dry white wine to be used to deglaze the pan.

If you use white wine, which varietal do you prefer?

  1. h
    Harters Oct 8, 2013 03:48 PM

    We often add wine to whatever type of gravy we're making. It'll be whatever my partner intends to drink with her dinner.

    1. eLizard Oct 8, 2013 01:26 PM


      ETA why am i posting in a 9 year old thread?

      1. ChefJune Oct 8, 2013 10:02 AM

        I often deglaze the pan with whatever wine I have open and on hand. Could be red, could be white. It's all good!

        I like to finish the gravy with Sercial Madeira.

        1. b
          berkleybabe Nov 21, 2004 06:59 PM

          We actually make a basting sauce of white wine (one bottle of dry, usually sauvingon blanc but also chardonnay works, too). Melt 1-2 sticks of butter together, add 1 bottle wine. Dip a square of cheesecloth in and let drain a bit, place over the breast. Keeps it moist and from over browning. Near the end of the cooking process, remove the cloth and let the breast brown. You have pan drippings, butter and wine already blended, ready to turn into gravy. No additional flavoring needed or added at last minute. We love it as this adds to the liquid volume and lets us make mo' gravy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: berkleybabe
            Funwithfood Nov 22, 2004 04:16 PM

            I remember seeing Martha Stewart use that technique, but I always pictured the cheesecloth sticking to the turkey. Do you have problems with that? (How does the cheesecloth stay moist in a hot oven? just curious)

            1. re: Funwithfood
              walker Oct 8, 2013 09:55 AM

              I baste occasionally and during the last hour or so, I lift the cheesecloth away some from the skin and baste so that it does not stick on there.

          2. c
            Carb Lover Nov 21, 2004 02:57 PM

            I've used both white and red wines for gravy, depending on the flavor I'm trying to achieve. I usually just put a splash of whatever I'm serving w/ the meal. If using red, I've also added a splash of balsamic.

            1. i
              Ilaine Nov 21, 2004 12:49 PM

              I use red wine. A big bodied fruity California red. Merlot or Pinot Noir, whichever. We drink both with Thanksgiving dinner, too.

              To me, turkey isn't about the white meat. I like the legs and thighs and the meat on the back, all of which is dark. So, we get free range turkeys.

              The gravy doesn't really need much wine, though, because turkey meat is more delicate than beef.

              I simmer the neck, tail, and organs in a little pot with water, onion, celery, carrot and parsley for maybe an hour. I shred the neck meat, which always goes into the gravy, and chop the organ meat, and make two tureens of gravy, one with organ meat, one without.

              I make a medium golden brown roux using olive oil or turkey fat, and unbleached white flour. Into this goes the turkey broth, plus chicken broth, and turkey drippings.

              The wine is used to deglaze the turkey roasting pan after the turkey drippings are poured into a separating pitcher.

              Last year, we smoked the turkey outside in an offset smoker, using natural charcoal and fruit wood, usually cherry wood, so there were no drippings. But after we let the turkey "rest" on a large wooden cutting board, there was turkey juice, so we threw that into the gravy.

              1. k
                Karl S. Nov 21, 2004 12:39 PM

                French (Noilly Prat) dry vermouth. It's reliable and balanced in a way other vermouths and whites are not reliably.

                Just be sure to add wine the proper sequence to cook the alcohol out of it; a whiff of alcohol is unpleasant in sauce.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Karl S.
                  shrimpbird Nov 22, 2004 01:35 PM

                  YES, I always use vermouth in gravy, it's fantastic. Not this time though, I have a recovering alcoholic amoungst the group.

                2. d
                  DanaB Nov 21, 2004 11:52 AM

                  In Wednesday's LA Times Food Section, they had a good article on deglazing the turkey pan to make sauce as an alternate to gravy, with various recommendations as to what wines/cognacs, etc. work well. I've linked the article below. The LA Times does require registration, but it's free.

                  Link: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: DanaB
                    Ilaine Nov 21, 2004 12:58 PM

                    The main conceptual difference between the sauce in the LA Times article and my gravy is that I do use flour as a thickener, cooked to a nice golden brown in a roux.

                    But we have a big family, so a nice little demi-glace won't go very far, so the juices and broths and flavoring agents don't get cooked down to thicken them.

                    I am always baffled by people who can't make a savory gravy. All it takes is a good roux, and a little stiff wrist action with a whisk when adding the liquids.

                    I can't even fathom using arrowroot or corn starch. Why on earth? And turkey gravy does NOT want milk. Or cream.

                    1. re: Ilaine
                      Jeremy Newel Nov 21, 2004 02:48 PM

                      Well, a celiac guest at your Thanksgiving table would appreciate a gravy or sauce made without wheat flour for thickening, so that he could have some, too. This is the situation at our house.

                      1. re: Jeremy Newel
                        Ilaine Nov 21, 2004 03:03 PM

                        OK, but there's a big difference between not using flour for health reasons, and not using flour because you don't know how to handle it properly.

                        For someone who can't handle gluten, I'd pass the baby onions. These are small onions, pearls or boilers, browned in a combo of butter and olive oil until they are quite brown, then simmered in beef broth with the lid slightly ajar until the onions are done and the broth is syrupy. This makes a lovely sauce for meats.

                        We make it for every special feast day.

                        1. re: Ilaine
                          Jereny Newel Nov 21, 2004 06:49 PM

                          Thanks for the onion recipe. I do bittersweet onions, but I like the savoriness of your recipe.

                      2. re: Ilaine
                        Funwithfood Nov 21, 2004 04:23 PM

                        What is the difference (in the end) between using Arrowroot & Flour?

                        Can you make a roux with Arrowroot as the starch, or is Flour the only starch that works?

                        1. re: Funwithfood
                          Ilaine Nov 21, 2004 05:57 PM

                          I don't think you can make a roux with arrowroot or corn starch.

                          1. re: Funwithfood
                            cornflower Nov 21, 2004 10:12 PM

                            You would use flour to make a roux. With arrowroot and cornstarch, you would mix it with cold water to make a slurry.

                            1. re: cornflower
                              danna Nov 22, 2004 01:37 PM

                              FWIW, I make a slurry w/ flour. Agree that cornstarch makes a rather icky gravy.

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