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Make-Ahead Gravy

Make-Ahead Gravy

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This do-ahead gravy skips the pan drippings.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • A small handful of rosemary, thyme, and/or bay leaves
  • 6 cups (or more) Thanksgiving Stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup Wondra or all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Cook chicken wings, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring and turning wings often, until everything in pan is deeply browned, 14–16 minutes. Add herbs and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of pan. Bring to a boil and cook until wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add stock and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by a third, 35–40 minutes.

  • Strain fortified stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. (You should have about 4 cups. If you don’t, add enough stock or water to get you there.) Discard solids. Keep fortified stock warm while you make your roux.

  • Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is golden brown and looks smooth and shiny, about 4 minutes.

  • Whisking constantly, ladle fortified stock into roux, pouring in gradually and making sure to incorporate after each addition before adding more. Simmer, whisking often, until gravy is thickened and reduced to about 3 cups (it should coat a spoon), 8–10 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, taste, and season with salt and pepper

  • Do Ahead: Gravy can be made 5 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat over low before serving.

Reviews SectionCan someone help me understand why I make this recipe twice? Why not use the original stock recipe and add the roux? I’m making the stock now, just seems redundant.This will be my 3rd Thanksgiving to make this gravy and I thought I owed it to Andy Baraghani to leave a review and sing the praises of this gravy! It is easy, it is rich in flavor, it is done 2 days before the feast! I have converted at least 4 friends into Thanksgiving pros with this recipe.Looking forward to making this for Thanksgiving. Has anyone doubled this recipe? Any special tips, or experience to share? How large a saucepan would you suggest for doubling? Thank you!AnonymousSt. Paul, MN11/25/19I just made this for the second time and it's so easy and turns out fantastic every time. No lumps or crazy last minute whisking on Thanksgiving! It does take some time but it is absolutely worth it!AnonymousHershey, Pennsylvania 11/24/19Hi again - I couldn't figure out how to amend my previous comment but for anyone trying to halve this - 1/4 a cup is 4 tablespoons, so the flour to butter ratio for the roux is 4:3 so for half, 2 tablespoons of flour to 1.5 tablespoons of butter.Also, I've made this a couple of times when roasting chickens and my wife says it's the best gravy she's had so my updated review is now five stars. Oh, but the time she said that, I didn't put in any Worcestershire sauce.But please, BA, make your units more uniform.barleydavidsonBrooklyn, NY06/06/19For making the roux, why is the butter written in tablespoons but the butter is expressed in cups?! Doing the math to halve the recipe gave me flashbacks to my 7th grade pre-algebra class. You could just as easily have said 3 tbsp of butter, 4 tbsp of flour.Otherwise - a fine gravy.barleydavidsonBrooklyn, NY04/28/19This was the best gravy I have ever made!! I always roast turkey legs and make my own turkey stock a few days ahead but I did this in addition to the turkey stock and it was a total game changer!! I left out the Worcestershire sauce because I just didn't want that flavor in my gravy, but it was delicious anyway. I will make my gravy this way every year.horsygirlBeaufort,SC12/18/17My family loved it! This was my first attempt at making gravy, but this recipe was easy with the pre-made Thanksgiving StockBKHorstMinneapolis11/30/17This was fantastic! We had spatchcocked our turkey already, so I roasted off the neck/backbone and added those. Great to have this confidently done early.AnonymousPhiladelphia11/23/17Can Gluten Free Flour be used as a substitute for Flour?Cooking with BookiePhoenix11/20/17I made this gravy last week- cooked a turkey last minute, and used store bought chicken stock. Gravy was amazing! I am making this for Thanksgiving. I have to triple the recipe though....

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  • olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, halved
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 short stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 package of 3 turkey wings (thawed if frozen)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 6 cups turkey stock (or sub with chicken stock)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons Wondra instant flour (or sub with unbleached all-purpose flour *see notes beforehand)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°.
  2. Add a littel olive oil to the bottom of your roasting pan. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, turkey wings and thyme.
  3. Drizzle more olive oil over top and season with a few pinches kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 1 hour.
  4. Deglaze the pan with wine. Pour in the broth and return the pan to the oven and continue roasting for 45 more minutes or until the liquids have reduced by half.
  5. Remove turkey wings to a cutting board. Use the meat for a recipe (like soup!) or discard.
  6. Strain the broth through a sieve into a bowl. Press the vegetables before discarding to get any liquids from them as well.
  7. In a skillet, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour until dissolved. Then gradually pour in the hot broth.
  8. Bring to a simmer over medium heat then reduce to medium-low and continue whisking while the gravy simmers. This could take 45 to 1 hour. Or if you&rsquore like me and don&rsquot want to wait that long, after about 30 minutes, make a cornstarch slurry and whisk it in. For a thinner gravy, whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. And for a thicker gravy (what we like!) I do 3 tablespoons of each.
  9. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.
  10. Once thickened, let cool before storing.
  11. Make this as early as a month in advance and freeze &ndash thaw before reheating. Or prepare it 3 to 4 days in advance and keep refrigerated in an air-tight container and reheat the day of.

To Reheat:

  1. Thaw completely if frozen.
  2. Add the gravy to a sauce pan and heat on low until hot.
  3. If the gravy is too thick once reheated, add a few splashes of turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth to thin it out


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Make-Ahead Vegetarian Gravy

Vegetarians and vegans, rejoice. Everyone else, hear us out. This make-ahead vegetarian gravy is completely foolproof. First, it doesn&rsquot require turkey pan drippings, so you don&rsquot need to cook your turkey first (brilliant). Second, there&rsquos no tricky roux&mdashjust mix in some flour while you&rsquore sautéing your vegetables. Third, it&rsquos as rich and flavorful as real gravy, thanks to umami-packed portobello mushrooms.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pint baby portobello mushrooms, finely chopped

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl the pot to combine with the butter.

2. Add the shallots and mushrooms, and sauté until tender and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Add the flour and stir to evenly coat the vegetables. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring constantly, and continue to heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.

4. Stir in the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes.

5. Strain the mixture and discard the solids. Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed (reheat over low heat, stirring constantly, before serving).

Get-ahead gravy

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
2. Peel the onions, wash the carrots, then roughly chop with the celery and bacon. Put the veg, bay leaves, sage, rosemary and star anise into a sturdy high-sided roasting tray, then scatter the chopped bacon on top.
3. Break the chicken wings open, bash with a rolling pin to help release extra flavour as they cook, then add to the tray. Drizzle with oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, toss, then cook for 1 hour, or until tender.
4. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer to a low heat on the hob. Really grind and mash everything with a potato masher, scraping up all the goodness from the base of the tray (the longer you let it fry, the darker your gravy will be). If you want to add sherry or port, now’s the time to do so just leave it to cook away for a few minutes.
5. Gradually stir in the flour, then pour in 2 litres of boiling kettle water. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.
6. When the gravy is the consistency of your liking, pour it through a coarse sieve into a large bowl, pushing all the goodness through with the back of a spoon. Taste and season to perfection, cool to room temperature, then pour into containers or bags and pop into the fridge or freezer, ready to finish off on Christmas Day.

1. If frozen, take the gravy out to defrost when your turkey goes into the oven.
2. When the turkey’s perfectly cooked, remove it to a platter to rest for up to 2 hours, covered with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel. Skim away most of the fat from the tray, cool, and place into a jar in the fridge for tasty cooking another day.
3. Pour your Get-ahead gravy into the tray with the rest of the turkey juices. Bring to the boil over the hob and scrape up all those sticky bits from the base. Have a taste, then stir in the Cranberry sauce to balance the flavours.
4. Once your gravy is piping hot, carefully strain through a coarse sieve into a pan, then leave it on the lowest heat until you’re ready to serve. Skim away any fat that rises to the top, and add any extra resting juices from the turkey before serving.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy Recipe

In years past, I’ve focused on more creative and unique versions of Thanksgiving classics, but this year, I’m going pure comfort. Over the past week, I’ve shared Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast along with Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes. Today, I’ve got a rich and savory Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy that brings it all together.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Gravy is one Thanksgiving item that I’ve neglected over the years. We smoke our turkey, so there are never pan drippings around, and I also don’t like the idea of having to make a major element of Thanksgiving dinner in such a short period of time. While guests are around. After I’ve had several cocktails.

So, I would just get some gravy from Costco and rewarm it while the turkey was resting. But last year, I made this Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and it was a smash hit. Like shockingly delicious. And I was able to prepare it the day before Thanksgiving! Continue reading for the recipe.

To make turkey gravy, you start by roasting turkey wings in a cast iron skillet until golden brown. Turkey wings are cheap and will infuse the gravy with plenty of turkey flavor. Then, you toss in the aromatics: shallot, garlic, carrot, celery, black pepper and shiitake mushrooms. Everything continues to roast until deeply golden.

At this point, you transfer the wings to a stock pot and then deglaze the skillet with amontillado sherry. Now, I know that sounds fancy, but I got a bottle for $5 at Trader Joe’s and it’s pretty darn good. Amontillado sherry has an intense flavor that helps add some backbone to the sauce.

If you can’t find amontillado sherry, then just deglaze with a dry sherry or dry white wine instead. Deglazing is important, because it pulls up all of the flavorful bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Next, you scrape everything from the pan into the stock pot with the turkey, and add chicken stock, thyme, parsley and a bay leaf. Everything is simmered until the liquid is reduced by 1/3. Basically we’re making turkey stock here.

In the final steps, you strain the stock and set it back over medium heat. The stock is thickened with a mixture of butter and flour, then seasoned with salt, pepper, sherry vinegar and MSG.

Hold up… MSG!? Yes, MSG. It’s a completely safe product to use in moderation, and it really takes this turkey gravy to the next level by amping up savoriness.

Be sure to taste the gravy before and after you add the MSG, and you’ll understand how it affects the flavor. It’s a real ah ha moment! I got my MSG on Amazon by the way.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

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Most of us wait until right before Thanksgiving dinner is served—when the kitchen is a swirling vortex of kids, dogs, and your brother-in-law looking for the wine opener—to make gravy, using drippings from the roasting pan. If you don’t have drippings (maybe you cooked our BBQ Turkey) or just like to tick off your to-do boxes well in advance, this easy make-ahead recipe yields gravy with plenty of rich turkey flavor. Start by making a simple turkey stock from turkey legs, vegetables, and herbs. Sauté some shallots for depth, add some white wine (use a little extra stock if you prefer to skip the wine), and sprinkle in a little flour. Add your rich turkey stock, and let it simmer until the flour works its thickening magic.

This gravy transforms our Orange, Honey, and Thyme Brined Turkey Breast into the ultimate celebration dish, and elevates Turkey Meatloaf.

Make-ahead notes: The gravy can be refrigerated in a container with a tightfitting lid for up to 4 days. To reheat, place the gravy in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until hot, about 10 minutes. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator for a day, then reheat.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

This method of making gravy cuts down on last-minute cooking and ensures a deep, rich flavor. The red wine can be replaced with cognac, port or sherry.

Make Ahead: The roux-stock-wine mixture can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat gently over low heat.

Servings: 4 - 5 cups

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, watching carefully so it does not burn. Add the flour slowly, whisking briskly until bubbles form and the mixture thickens and turns golden brown. Add the stock and wine, whisking until the flour-butter roux is well blended. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until no flour taste remains. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (At this point, the mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

To finish the gravy, strain the pan juices/drippings from a roasted turkey into a fat separator and pour the defatted drippings into the gravy mixture, stirring to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if the gravy is too thin, increase the heat and reduce the gravy for several minutes to the desired thickness. Transfer to a warmed gravy boat and serve.

Recipe Source

Adapted from "Seriously Simple Holidays," by Diane Rossen Worthington (Chronicle, 2007).

Place the turkey wings, onion, carrot, and celery in a Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper. Place in an oven preheated to 400ºF and roast, uncovered, for 1.25 hours, turning the items after 45 minutes.

Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, and pour in 6 cups of chicken broth. Add the thyme, and bay leaf. Place on a burner over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, and let the mixture simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

After simmering, remove the wings, vegetables, thyme, and bay leaves from the pot and discard. Skim any fat that has risen to the top, and strain the mixture into a saucepan.

In a seperate saucepan, add the remaining 1 cup of broth and bring to medium heat. Gradually whisk the flour into the broth and continue to whisk until smooth. Slowly pour in the rest of the gravy and whisk together until combined. Season to your taste with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in more flour, if you desire for thicker gravy.

Remove from heat, cover, and refrigerate to use for later, or serve right away. May be stored and reheated up to 3 days later. Enjoy!


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