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Help with turkey gravy

On the good advice from a poster on this board, last year I made turkey stock to use for gravy and it was better than prefab stuff but still only OK.
This year, I roasted the veggies (carrots, onion and celery) as well as some turkey necks, giblets, thighs, wings and drumsticks. I dumped it all in a pot and covered with cold water. It has been simmering for 8 hours now and it has reduced to a dark rich turkey stock.
The question, besides adding pan drippings, should I do anythng else while making it into a gravy. What have been your best methods for thickening.

My flour slurry was high maintenance last year and I think it "de" intensified the turkey flavour.

Now I have 5 liters of strained stock that is going into the freezer, half for Cdn Thanksgiving and half for US Thanksgiving.

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  1. Use the fat from the pan drippings to cook the flour for several minutes, until the raw smell is gone then whisk in the stock. The fat adds a huge amount of flavor to the gravy.

    1. Here's what I do ... and I only know from watching the limited cooking done in my home growing up....(Aside: my sister LOVES the NYtimes turkey gravy/stock thing from about 2 years ago which uses like 2 or 3 pounds of roasted turkey parts) ..my little humble family still loves my turkey gravy so here's my method: I take my turkey and remove that little packet of giblets/innards/neck...cook those up in water with celery leaves and coarsely chopped onion...then chop the cooked giblets/innards and NECK as finely as I can. When the bird is done roasting in the oven, I remove it and let it rest....the drippings in the roasting pan are then separated in a measuring cup and I brown some *flour*(that's my thickening to answer your question) in the roasting pan with the fat to make a roux...then I add the broth from the innards/ neck stuff and let it thicken...then I add the roasted drippings that have been skimmed as much as possible. I also add the chopped cooked innards/neck meat. Now, *sometimes* I will add some jarred turkey gravy depending on whom is eating...my #1 son is a VERY BIG guy with a very big appetite...so sometimes I do need to S-T-R-E-T-C-H the turkey gravy.

      1. I do the lazy method. I lay the roasting pan, after removing the turkey, across two burners. Pour out a little fat, if neccesary but rarely need to do it. Add flour and stir. Add some wine or liquor to deglaze. Add warm stock until thickened. No extra pot and you get all the stuck on drippings in the gravy.

        1. If you made a slurry as a separate component that would be high maintenance.
          Cook the flour in half a cup of hot broth or drippings and whisk whisk whisk it until it incorporates and pulls away from the pan. Then add your stock whisking like crazy. Add stock until you like the consistency and you're good to go. This works for every kind of gravy. As the other posters have said, cooking the flour is the key.

          1. I do my broth a bit lazier. I too roast every thing in a big roasting pan. When browned I add the herbs and deglaze the pan with wine, then fill the pan 3/4 full with water. Put the lid on and everything back into the oven at 400 for about 30 min. Then drop the temp to 225 and let cook all night until the bones are soft a la AB (the soft bones part not the do it all in the oven part). It comes out so intensely turkey (or chickeny) that I thin it for soup but its perfect for sauces and gravy.

            To thicken I use cornstarch mixed with boxed free range chicken stock because it has the most flavor and doesn't gel like my stock when cooled. Also I ad some of the pan drippings but I don't make the gravy in the pan because the carcass goes back in the oven for more roasted stock.

            1. Definitely add a bit of white wine to the gravy! I like to use shallots, maybe garlic, thyme, and freshly ground pepper as well. And a splash of heavy cream. It's not healthy, but it's not supposed to be diet food! The gravy is my favorite part of Thanksgiving- it elevates the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey. And it's good to dip the cornbread in. I just got my Thanksgiving Bon Appetit issue in the mail yesterday and I was drooling all over it!

              3 Replies
              1. re: QSheba

                i don't add wine to the gravy, but I do add apple cider and a few drops of cider vinegar. And I put a little chopped apple and golden raisins into my whole wheat bread stuffing.

                I always use Wondra instantized flour when making gravy, because it resists lumping. Got that tip from Julia Child decades ago.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Ahh yes- I forgot the Wondra. I always use that for my sauces. Flour doesn't incorporate as well (for me at least) and can have that "raw flour" flavor. I have added a bit of cognac as well.

                2. re: QSheba

                  I agree with the heavy cream as a thickener, but I use much more than a splash. I dislike gravy made with flour as I find it too glutinous (even when it's done correctly).

                3. Make your turkey stock with chicken stock (preferably a homemade brown one) instead of water. (A double stock)

                  For a thickener, I use a brown roux made with 1/2 butter, 1/2 turkey fat from the pan. A good alternative would be to reduce the stock then thicken with an arrowroot paste. (Still sneak in a little fat, though!)

                  Deglaze the roasting pan with white wine, white wine+cognac, or hard cider, depending on your taste. Add to the stock before thickening.

                  Taste gravy for acidity and salt. You may want to add a few drops of lemon juice or champagne vinegar. Fresh herbs can be good, but don't overdo them.

                  Adding some finely minced prosciutto for a nontraditional kick, especially the next day.


                  1. Is Wondra widely available?
                    If I don't want to bring my big roasting pan and such over to the house we're eating at, and use a heavy guage aluminum foil pan, do you think it is safe to deglaze with that on two burners or would that be dangerous?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: itryalot

                      I've never had trouble finding Wondra in a "normal" supermarket- regardless of the size of the city.

                      Do you mean one of those disposable foil roasting pans? If so, I would definitely NOT use that on the stovetop. You're better off pouring some liquid (I like to deglaze w/ the wine) into the pan, scraping as well as you can to get the fond off the bottom, and then pouring into a normal saucepan or even a frying pan depending on the volume/how much you're going to reduce the gravy.

                      Souschef- ok, I use more than a splash of heavy cream... and I use more butter and cream in my mashed potatoes than I want to admit... ;)

                      1. re: QSheba

                        I agree about not putting the foil pan on the stove. At the same time, I'd also be concerned about putting a heavy turkey in one of those pans. I know they sell them for that reason but I've heard of a number of people who've had it collapse on them as they moved it out of the oven.

                        1. re: chowser

                          I've heard of a number of people who've had it collapse on them as they moved it out of the oven.
                          You can easily solve that potential problem by using a quality baking sheet pan underneath the foil pan.....during cooking...or when removing from the oven.

                      2. re: itryalot

                        i hesitate to recommend this but I have deglazed hd aluminum pans on the stove top with no problem. But as soon as it is deglazed, I pour it into a large saucepan and continue from there.

                      3. I make my gravy somewhat like some of the other posters in that I make a roux for the thickener BUT I cook my roux till it's about the color of a penny, using fat from the bird (if you have it), if not, I use equal parts of flour & either canola or veg oil. Heat the oil over medium temp first, then whisk in the flour THEN turn the heat down low and continue cooking until you get that color, whisking occasionally. Remember, slow cooked color is flavor.

                        Once I get the color I want, I add my liquid & any other flavorings. I like to add Worcestershire and either chicken or turkey base to bump up the flavor. You can add your veggies and reserved turkey parts. Bring it to a simmer; this is where it thickens and gets rid of the flour taste. I let it cook for about 15 minutes.

                        You mentioned a problem with your flour slurry....my experience has been that flour does not work well in a slurry when you are adding it to a gravy that's already made. If, once you've made the gravy, you find that it's not thick enough, whisk together a couple tablespoons of cornstarch into three tablespoons of water (turkey stock is even better) until smooth, then increase your gravy to the boiling state and drizzle in the cornstarch slurry. Continue to boil for two minutes and the gravy should be the right consistency.
                        Cornstarch dissolves better and doesn't lump up like flour.

                        I'm assuming you might not have any turkey parts for the gravy if you used them to make your stock, but you don't really need them. That homemade stock will put it over the top!

                        1. Like you, I make my turkey stock ahead, with roasted veg and turkey parts. When I defat the stock before freezing, I save some of the schmaltz and freeze it in a couple little Glad containers. I use the schmatlz and Wondra to make a roux for the gravy. The great thing about this is if you make enough stock and freeze enough schmaltz, you can make fresh gravy to go with leftovers, for a pot pie or to use later. Last year, I made lots of stock and schmaltz and used with the organic turkey I got nearly free on clearance after Thanksgiving! I froze the turkey and we had a great, easy turkey dinner one weekend in January.