Homemade gravy is an essential part of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Many people start
their gravy with the pan drippings from the roasting pan after the turkey comes out of the oven.
But some people only roast a turkey breast or grill or deep-fry their turkey and don’t have any
pan drippings. Others simply like to make the gravy ahead of time rather than waiting for the
turkey to be done. There are other ways to make a very flavorful gravy for your turkey. So we
are providing you with a variety of methods to choose from. The first recipe uses the pan
drippings, the next recipe uses canned chicken or turkey broth, and the last recipe uses
homemade turkey broth which you make ahead of time. With all of the recipes you
will still get that genuine homey flavor.
I use instant flour when making gravy. Instant flour is low protein, finely ground flour that has been treated so that it will dissolve instantly in water. Since it is
very unlikely to form lumps when mixed with water or other liquids, it is used to thicken gravies, sauces, and custards where a smooth texture is desired.
The leading brand for instant flour is Wondra and is produced by Gold Medal. You can find it in a canister-style container in the flour area of your supermarket.
If you don’t make gravy often and don’t want to make a special purchase, you can substitute all-purpose flour.
Basic Gravy made with Turkey Pan Drippings
After you have roasted the turkey:
Scrape the pan drippings and browned bits from the roasting pan into a
measuring cup. Skim and reserve the fat. Pour 1/4 cup of the fat into a
medium saucepan. Discard the remaining fat. Stir in 1/4 cup of flour. Add
enough chicken broth to the drippings in the measuring cup to equal 2 cups.
Add this broth mixture to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until
thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Season to taste with
salt and pepper.
Simple Gravy with Canned Chicken Broth
(Makes about 2 cups)
Use a low-sodium broth so that the gravy is not too salty.
The Gravy Master adds flavor and color.
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons quick-mixing flour (such as Wondra)
Salt and pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth or turkey stock
1/2 teaspoon gravy starter (such as Gravy Master)
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour. Season
with salt and pepper. Stir the mixture until it begins to turn a light caramel
color, about 3 minutes. Add about half of the chicken broth and the gravy
starter. Stir to combine. Once the mixture begins to simmer it will start to
thicken. Add more chicken broth, a little at a time, until the gravy is the
consistency that you desire. Cook the gravy for 2 minutes and it is ready to
Turkey Stock for Gravy
(Makes about 3 cups)
This is a simple recipe for making a rich turkey stock that utilizes the giblets
found inside the turkey. Use the neck, gizzard, and heart. Omit the liver as it
sometimes gives the stock a bitter taste. You can then use the stock in either
of the gravy recipes above.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Turkey neck, gizzard, and heart
1 onion, root end trimmed, quartered with peel left on
1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
1 large celery rib, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 cups cold water
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the giblets and sauté
until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the
saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduced heat to low. Skim off any brown foam
that rises to the top. Simmer the stock until it is reduced by half, about 1 hour.
Pour the stock through a strainer set over a bowl or 4-cup glass measure.
Remove the giblets and reserve, if you will be making giblet gravy. If not,
discard the giblets with the rest of the cooked vegetables. Let the stock cool
completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Remove and discard the
fat that has solidified on the top of the stock.
If making giblet gravy, shred the meat from the neck and finely dice the gizzard
and heart. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
The turkey stock can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept refrigerated.
To make a larger batch of stock:
Use about 5 pounds of turkey wings, thighs, or drumsticks in place of the
giblets in the above recipe. Double the quantities of all of the remaining
ingredients. Brown the turkey parts in a roasting pan in a preheated 400 degree
oven for 1-1/2 hours. Transfer them to a stockpot and proceed with the recipe
after the browning step.