Let’s talk gravy. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without good gravy. And it’s not that hard to make! I’ll walk through how I do it – keep in mind this not a very exact recipe, but hopefully enough info to be useful.
1) Reserve your juices from the turkey. Skim the fat off the top, if you can. I have to admit I don’t usually do this because there isn’t always that much, and my gravy always comes out fine. There are techniques for separating the fat – but I don’t remember them. Sorry! (Maybe some of you out there can share your tricks of the trade.)
2) Thickening – you can go two ways:
SLURRY: For good gravy. Simply whisk together some water & flour (kinda thick, but thin enough you can pour it). Add to your simmering meat juices to thicken. You may need to use a sieve at the end to take out lumps.
ROUX: For fantastic, smooth-as-silk gravy. Yummier and truly not any harder. Here’s what you do: Cook equal parts butter & flour in a saucepan on low heat, whisking constantly. 3-5 mins to make a white roux. You can cook a few minutes longer for a nuttier flavor, but the longer you cook roux the less it will thicken your gravy.
You can refrigerate or freeze unused roux for later. Like the slurry, add in small parts to your meat juices to desired thickness (and remember, your gravy will thicken over time and once it cools). How much roux? Well, I’m going to make 4 T butter/4 T flour next week. If it’s too much, I’ll save for later. If not enough, easy to make more!
3) Getting the right amount of gravy is usually a challenge, especially at Thanksgiving with many guests. You want a lot, but there aren’t THAT many juices from your turkey. You can add some chicken broth to your juices, but I think that’s sad – detracts from your delicious turkey flavor. Last year I used a turkey gravy base from Williams-Sonoma to increase the amount of gravy. It tasted great. This year I noticed in the Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving flyer that they have a jarred turkey gravy – haven’t tried it, but I think I will as I’m CERTAIN it will be less espensive than good ole Williams-Sonoma. Just make sure you use these products as supplements to your homemade gravy – it will taste much better than just using these handy gravy products alone!
Another way to get more volume…I simmer the neck and giblets that come with the turkey – enough water to cover. I use that broth as well as the pan drippings and that helps make lots more gravy without having to resort to using chicken broth.
4) Seasoning is simple – salt and pepper.
It’s not hard to make good gravy. I promise! If you haven’t done it before, give it a try. If you are a gravy expert, please share your tips!