Here’s how to take the guesswork (and the lumps) out of America’s favorite pan
sauce–and produce perfect gravy ever y time. BY SEAN L AWLER
Mastering Turkey Gravy
C O O K ’ S I L L U S T R A T E D
The turkey is carved, the potatoes are mashed, the family is starving–now is not
the time to be hovering over the stove, fussing like a mad scientist with bulb basters
and tiny bottles of suspicious brown liquid. But with so many items on the menu for
holiday dinners, busy cooks often neglect the gravy until the last minute. Is it any
wonder that it turns out lumpy, pasty, and pale? But gravy need not cause so much
stress. In fact, much of the work can (and should) be done ahead of time.
ILLUSTRATION: JOHN BUR GOYNE
Asking a balloon whisk to reach
into the “corners” of a pan is usually
a stretch. To find out what sort
of whisk would be better suited to
making sauces, such as gravy (page
17), we rounded up 12 models in
various shapes and sizes. We prepared
BEST TURKEY GRAVY
MAKES ABOUT 6 CUPS
This recipe makes enough gravy to
accompany a 12- to 14-pound turkey,
with leftovers. If you are roasting a very
large bird and want to double the
recipe, prepare the gravy in a Dutch
oven. White wine adds a welcome note
of acidity to gravy, but in a pinch you
can use more chicken broth in its place.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Reserved turkey giblets and
1 onion, unpeeled and chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken
2 cups water
2 sprigs fresh thyme
8 parsley stems
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
Table salt and ground black
STEP ONE: Make the broth.
TIMETABLE: 1 to 2 days in advance.
STEP T WO: Make the roux and
thicken the broth.
TIMETABLE: 1 day in advance or while
STEP THREE: Deglaze the roasting
pan and add the drippings to the gravy.
TIMETABLE: While the turkey rests on
the carving board.
STEP ONE Make the broth
Good gravy starts with turkey stock, but few home cooks have the time to make homemade. With turkey trimmings and an
onion, you can quickly doctor store-bought chicken broth into a flavorful base for gravy.
N O V E M B E R & D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 4
7. Strain drippings. Pour drippings
through mesh strainer set over
measuring cup. Let liquid settle until
fat rises to top. Return vegetables in
strainer to roasting pan.
8. Defat drippings. Tilt measuring
cup and use wide, shallow soup spoon
to skim fat off surface. Reserve defatted
drippings. Return gravy in saucepan
9. Deglaze pan. Place roasting pan
over two burners at medium-high heat.
Add wine and reserved 1 cup broth
and scrape up browned bits in pan. Boil
until liquid reduces by half, 5 minutes.
10. Finish gravy. Strain roasting pan
liquid into gravy, pressing on solids to
extract all liquid. Add defatted drippings
to taste. Stir in giblets and serve.
STEP THREE Deglaze the pan and add the drippings to the gravy
Browned vegetables and drippings in the roasting pan used to cook the turkey are the final flavor enhancers for gravy. Add 1 cup each of chopped onions, carrots,
and celery along with fresh thyme sprigs and 1cup of water to the roasting pan before the turkey goes into the oven.
This recipe was submitted by one of our readers and has not been tested by our food editors. We are not responsible for errors in this recipe, but if you find one, please let us know.