We know, we know, we know: Grandma has a certain gravy recipe that you’ve been having at Thanksgiving as long as you can remember, and it’s not Thanksgiving without it, and if it is not served, you’ll have a full-blown mutiny on your hands, with gravy boats being toppled over and rolls being throw’d.
We hear you. We understand. But we want you to just try something, specifically this gravy .We want you to lay off the starchy, globby gravy you’re used to, and try something that will not sit on top of your turkey, but run inside it almost like blood, flavoring every morsel to levels not previously thought possible. And if — IF! — your charges begin to mutinize, well, you can just take some of this stuff and work in a little flour and all will be forgiven.
But try it first, will ya?
Dried sage leaves
Dried thyme leaves
What To Do
So, you’re going to be cooking a turkey. Maybe you’re smoking it, maybe you’re roasting it. As long as you’re not frying it, you’ll have underneath your cooking turkey a large pan to catch the drippings. In that pan, put three quarts of water, a cup of apple juice, two onions with the skin still on, two carrots, chopped into two-inch lengths, a rib of celery with the leaves and everything still on, and then the sage and thyme. (NOTE: Used dried sage and thyme leaves instead of powdered sage and thyme, because the powdered stuff will make your gravy look cloudy and unappetizing.)
Once your turkey is thawed, open the plastic bag and dump all those gross juices into your large pan with all the vegetables and aromatics in it. Reach into the cavities in your bird, and pull out all the stuff in there. There will be a neck, a heart, a liver — giblets. Put everything except the liver in the pan. Clip the wings at the first knuckle, and toss them in too. Trim excess skin from the turkey, and put it in the pan.
So now you’ve got a pan full of vegetables, herbs and gross chicken parts that will eventually become an amazing gravy that you’ll ladle right back onto the bird from whence it came. We recommend doing all thisa day in advance to save fime. If you do that, just cover it and put it in the fridge until you start cooking.
Place the pan under the bird, and begin cooking your turkey however it is you cook your turkey.
Finishing the Gravy
As the bird cooks, fat will render out of it, caramelization will be happening, the salt from the brine will drip down into the pan, and a gravy will begin to form. Keep enough liquid in it so that the onions don’t burn. When the turkey is done, you should have a rich, dark and insanely flavorful liquid in the pan. Strain out all the chunks of stuff, and spoon off as much of the fat as you can. Let it rest 10 minutes. Does it taste a little weak? Boil it down a little. Does it need salt? Add some. Adjust to your tastes and then … do nothing. Just put it on your turkey.
If you absolutely must add starch, then take a few tablespoons of turkey fat or butter and melt it in a pan over medium heat with an equal amount of flour. Whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk for three minutes, until it all turns golden brown. There, you’ve made a roux. Stir in a cup of the pan drippings and keep whisking until it’s not lumpy anymore. You’ll probably need to add more pan drippings, so go ahead and do that.
Now taste it. Deep and rich and full of umami. Wow. Ladle it on. Your guests have never tasted gravy so good. You are a star.