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Nov 15, 2008 11:23 AM

How do you make your gravy?

My gravy every Thanksgiving is either so-so or tastes just plain weird. What are some of your tricks that you use for making gravy? Flour? Corn-starch? Reduced turkey broth? Please share :)

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  1. Last week I purchased 4 turkey legs. They went into a 450 degree oven, along with chunks of carrot, celery and onion (turned once). Then into the large crock pot and covered with cold water. Added a few peppercorns, a bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme and a small handful of kosher salt. Cooked on low all day. Strained, chilled in an ice water bath, then into the fridge overnight. Skimmed fat, put in Ziploc freezer bags, then into the freezer.

    The day before T-day, I'll put the bags in the fridge to start thawing. While bird is roasting, make a roux, using 1 1/2 T. butter and 1 1/2 T. flour per cup of stock. Cook flour in melted butter over medium heat for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick. Adjust seasonings, If you end up with some lumps, strain and return gravy to pot.

    When the turkey is done, pour off all the fat and deglaze the pan with a little bit of water. Pour the resulting brown deliciousness into the gravy. Check again for seasoning.

    7 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Only thing I'd add to this most excellent method is to make sure and deglaze the roasting pan to get all the brown bits before it goes into the crockpot. Also, I prefer no bay leaf, but since I started doing this I have had really great gravy and for once in my life, enough gravy. And since it does not depend on a large turkey, you can do it all year round. No mashed potato need ever be gravy-less.

      And, of course, the actual Thanksgiving day turkey roasting pan can be deglazed with a little liquid and the resulting liquid added to the gravy or frozen for the next time.

      1. re: sheiladeedee

        Deglaze with bourbon. I got the idea from the picture of a turkey on the bottle.

        1. re: eLizard

          Ah, if you're asking how long I roast the turkey, that's a whole nother ball of wax.

        2. re: pikawicca

          I save all the necks, wings, etc from my chickens and turkeys for a few months before Thanksgving.
          About two weeks before T-day I cook off a hotel cut turkey breast, we have it for dinner and then sandwiches.
          I defrost all my saved poultry parts and put them into the roasting pan my turkey just came out of, with about 4 cups of mirepoix ( 2 parts onion, 1 part celery, 1 part carrot), and roast that all off until everything is nicely browned and the veg have started to get a bit tender.
          Everything goes into a stock pot,including the giblets and the new turkey carcass, covered with water, some thyme, parsley, sage, and rosemary go in with it and it all simmers for about 4 hours. I also am sure to deglaze the roasting pan.

          I chill and remove all the fat from the stock, the second day I reduce it until it has good strong flavor, season with salt and pepper, strain it and freeze it. I save about a cup of the turkey fat as well. I freeze that serarately.

          The day of Thanksiving I take my stock, heat it and using a second large sauce pan, I melt about 1/2 of a cup of the turkey fat, making a roux with a 1/2 cup flour that I cook til it is golden brown. A brown roux has more flavor but less thickening qualities, so make I make a bit more than you think you need. Then I slowly whisk in the warm stock, until I have a pan of the most amazing gravy, usually around two quarts or so.

          When my Turkey is done, I remove it from the pan, set it aside to rest, and if I have cooked it over a pan and not over stuffing, I deglaze the pan, strain and skim the drippings and add those to the gravy.

          We have enough gravy for the dinner, and all the leftovers, and I have never made such good gravy.

          1. While our stuffed turkey is roasting, I simmer the neck, liver and giblets in a saucepan with 3 cups water and celery, onion, bay leaf, a little salt and peppercorns to make a light turkey stock/broth....when turkey is done roasting, I remove it from the roasting pan and pour off all of the liquid drippings into a large glass measuring cup. I then spoon off all of the fat which separates from the solids/juices on the bottom, reserving about 1/4 cup of the fat. In the roasting pan over medium heat, I add in about 1/4 cup of the reserved turkey fat and add about 1/4 cup of flour to make my roux. Stir that and cook it for a few minutes, then I add in the reserved solids/juices from the glass measuring cup, then I add in the light turkey broth/stock I made from the neck and giblets. I do add in the finely chopped cooked giblets, we love them but not everyone does. I cook that all over medium or medium high til it comes to a boil and then let it thicken, depending on how many of us there are, I will add some commercial turkey gravy from a jar to stretch it, usually only one jar. I know that it's blasphemy to most but it works for little old us. Of course, it is probably a lot easier to buy some turkey wings and make the stock a few days before Thanksgiving...but I do like using the giblets taken from the bag inside the turkey, too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Val

              This is how Mom make it and EVERYONE says she makes the best turkey gravy...

              1. re: Val

                My Mom always did it this same way. I copy a bit, but cook the 'guts' with chunked up onion, celery, carrot (toss them later) - I also skim the funky brown floaties, can't remember if Mom had them or skimmed them but I do...

              2. I boil my giblets in water seasoned with pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and celery salt. The giblets I use for dressing. The remaining giblet broth I save for gravy, and I save my potato water.

                When my turkey is finished I take it out of the roasting pan and drain all the drippings and grease into a gravy separator. I use the same roasting pan to add flower, butter and some turkey grease to make a roux. Once the roux has turned a nice dark peanut butter color I add the potato water and the giblet water and whisk well. Then the reserve drippings are added. S&P to gravy comes out a lovely dark carmel color and it is loaded with flavor and it is simply wonderful.

                2 Replies
                1. re: FoodChic

                  Your method and mine are very similar, except we love the giblets in the mother used to grind them up with one of those grinders that attach to the counter or kitchen table...I just finely chop them while the turkey is still's hard not to eat them as I chop them up!

                  1. re: Val

                    They are very similar, Val. I puree my giblets for my dressing,but I bet they are wonderful in the gravy! My Thanksgiving dinner is largely the same way my great grandmother made it.

                2. I use the roasting pan, once the turkey is removed, with all the fat that has cooked out of the turkey. Lay it across two burners, add flour and cook. Then I add premade turkey stock similar to pikawikka. The roasted turkey drippings and chunks make gravy with nice bits. This year, I think I'll add cloves of garlic to the roasting pan half an hour before the turkey is done and have roasted garlic gravy. Another thing I've done is added some of the drippings to the mashed potatoes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowser

                    I do something similar, except I add some brandy after the flour has been incorporated.

                  2. Here's an excellent recipe for a gravy you make completely ahead of time. In order to get the benefit of the turkey drippings, I'll do as pikawicca does and deglaze the pan with a bit of water and add that to the finished gravy.


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: JoanN

                      Thanks everyone for your tips! I think part of my problem was separating the pan juices with the fat. It seems like we always have so much fat so that I cant taste anything in the gravy. I bought myself one of those seperators things....but I think I will try to make it ahead of time since Im off of work (for once!).

                      :) I never used giblets and I miss the way my mom would add it to her stuffing and gravy. Maybe I can sneak it in when my husband isnt looking ;)

                      1. re: jenwee


                        I puree my giblets with a bit of the juice in the blender and my DH has no idea they are in the dressing. Might be a good way to add to your gravy.

                        1. re: FoodChic

                          ooh! Thanks for the tip! I might be able to sneak that past him :) :)

                      2. re: JoanN

                        I like to deglaze with white wine or vermouth for a richer flavor.And I add a splash of milk at the end for a creamier gravy, since I don't like to add any fat back in..
                        I can't imagine trying to make gravy without my Pyrex separator (if that's what it's called). That's a major help.