So we have a just few weeks before the big feast, and I’m starting to get the panicked questions about how to make the gravy. This breaks my heart, dear readers, because it is nothing to worry over and it is easy. So to ease your stress, here I offer a classic recipe.
If you don’t own a degreasing/separating cup, do yourself a favor and get one now. You may only use it once a year, but it is an essential tool for gravy making on Thanksgiving. Having said that, you can also make this process even more simple by just remembering that gravy is simply equal parts fat and flour whisked together for a few minutes with stock added to it. That’s it.
Cooking, for me, is about building flavors — and depth of flavor. So this recipe allows you to capture all the flavor from your turkey and incorporate it into your gravy. If this is more than you want to take on, it’s ok and you can simplify your gravy making by skipping all of this and just use the store-bought stock. It will be just fine. The main thing is to relax, don’t panic and enjoy the time and meal with your loved ones.
Bon Appétit! Chef Bettina
P.S. Remember when cooking with wine, always use good quality dry wine (not expensive, just good). Be sure to taste it first, and if it is something you would drink than it is good to use.
*Bettina Tolin is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. She has cooked in the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida. She is currently the executive chef and owner of Marcello’s Ocean Grille & Spirits overlooking the historic lighthouse in Port Isabel.
Classic Turkey Gravy
For your stock:
>> 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
>> 1 medium onion or leek, or 2 shallots, sliced
>> Neck and giblets from your turkey
>> 8 cups low or no-sodium chicken stock
>> 3 sprigs thyme, parsley, rosemary and/or sage
>> 1 bay leaf
For the gravy:
>> Good quality dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
>> Turkey drippings from your roasting pan
>> 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
>> Dash of Worcestershire sauce
>> Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
>> 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
When your turkey goes into the oven, start the stock: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and turkey neck and giblets; cook, stirring, until the giblets are browned, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock, herb sprigs and bay leaf; cover and simmer while the turkey roasts, about 2 hours. Strain the stock and keep warm.
When your turkey is done, transfer it to a cutting board to rest and pour all the pan drippings into a degreasing separating cup. The fat will rise to the top and the dark juices will remain at the bottom. Place the roasting pan over a burner on medium-high heat. Pour the wine into the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits and deglaze the pan. This allows you to capture and keep all of the pan’s flavor. Add this liquid to the degreasing separating cup.
Let the fat rise to the top of the degreasing cup, then spoon off 1/2 cup fat and transfer to a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the flour browns slightly, about 4 minutes. This is called making a roux.
Gradually add your hot stock to the roux, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Pour the dark roasting juices (not fat) from the degreasing cup into the gravy, discarding any remaining fat. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the butter, which adds a glossy sheen to the gravy.