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Nov 2, 2009 09:36 AM

Does turkey gravy need to be made at the last minute?

My husband is in charge of the gravy and it is just delicious. However, every time we have Thanksgiving here it is this mad dash for him to carve the turkey and make the gravy. Does anyone do the gravy earlier in the day? Can it just be microwaved before serving or is there a special trick? Thanks for your help.

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  1. I definitely do a lot of gravy prep well ahead of time. But I think it is pretty much inevitable that finishing the gravy is just about the last thing to do before sitting down to server dinner. Since the bird really needs to rest for a good long time before you even start to carve it, I find there is plenty of time to finish the gravy without the gravy delaying dinner.

    I made stock from the turkey and vegetable trimmings. I usually make a fruit base (spiced pear being my favorite) that is all cooked down, caramelized, and ready to go. Any onion, shallot, or other vegetables and spice mixes that go into the final saute are prepped ahead of time, of course.

    You probably would not lose that much by stealing some of the pan drippings ahead of time and prepping the roux and the vegetable saute and having the gravy more or less done ahead of time, then give it one last burst of simmering time to incorporate the pan drippings and the juices from the carving board. But you would lose those caramelized bits that are scraped from the roasting pan that frankly lend a lot of character and color.

    1. You can make the gravy ahead of time, then bring it back by simmering it over low heat; maybe add a touch of stock and whisk it. I always make mine ahead if I have a lot to do and the place I used to work made it by the gallons a few time a week and kept it on the steam table.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cherylptw

        I agree that you can do a lot ahead of time but also that you need to deglaze the roasting pan to get that flavorful fond into your gravy. That sort of flavor can't be achieved any other way - unless you have deglazed and frozen the fond from a PREVIOUS bird, and use that. Not a commonplace scenario unless you frequently roast turkeys....

      2. How can you make gravy ahead of time?

        All the flavor is in the fond, so the bird needs to be cooked before you can make it. Gravy made without fod is hardly worth it.

        Roast it. Rest it. Make your gravy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: C. Hamster

          I make the stock ahead of time by roasting turkey wings and legs with onion and carrot then simmering in a stockpot with water and fresh thyme and sage. This makes a rich, dark base for the gravy, the lovely gooey fond bits can be added at the last minute to the hot stock and thickened however you like to thicken it.