Secrets to Making Perfect Gravy Slideshow
November 15, 2017
Skip the store-bought stuff and make your own gravy this Thanksgiving
Secrets to Making Perfect Gravy
Gravy is the lifeblood of every Thanksgiving dinner; you slather your turkey with it, top your mashed potatoes with it, and add a few drops to every leftover sandwich you make following the big meal. Gravy is a central part of the holiday meal, and you can impress everyone at the table with some easy steps to the most flavorful gravy ever.
The Thanksgiving table is not complete without a big bowl of gravy, but the store-bought stuff is often loaded with lots of unnecessary preservatives, and homemade gravy tastes much better, too. The best part? It’s really easy to make.
People often get stressed about preparing their own gravy, since it has to happen between the moment the turkey comes out of the oven and when everyone sits down at the table. Luckily, it can be really simple as long as you have a plan going in.
If you’re going through the trouble of roasting a turkey, homemade gravy is a logical and cheap next step, and it’s worth the extra effort. Click on to learn the secrets to making perfect gravy.
Use the Giblets
Pronounced “jiblets,” giblets are the extra parts (think gizzard, heart, and liver) that are often packaged up with whole fowl. Turkey neck is frequently looped into this same category, but technically it’s not offal. They’re not pretty to look at, and you don’t have to eat them, but giblets are one of the easiest things to flavor your gravy with.
Sear the Giblets
Remember that giblet flavor we just discussed? Sear the giblets in a pot big enough to hold the stock you’ll be using to make the gravy.
Store-bought stock will work just fine (if you don’t have any homemade) for your gravy, but you will want to up the flavor while your turkey roasts. Deglaze the pot you seared the giblets in with some stock and scrape up all of the brown bits. Then heat the stock with chopped carrots, celery, onions, and giblets. If you have leftover herbs from other dishes, tie an herb bundle with some kitchen twine and add it in.
After the turkey comes out of the oven, set it on a carving board to rest and use whatever is left at the bottom of the pan. Separate the fat from the drippings using either a fat separator or a liquid measuring cup. Using a standard measuring cup to separate the fat will take more time than using a separator; stick the cup in the fridge to speed up the process, and spoon the fat off the top.
Thicken the Gravy
Strain the stock and set it aside for just a moment. Whisk together equal parts flour (or cornstarch) and hot fat to make a roux; cook the roux, whisking until it forms a thick paste; and then add the drippings to the roux.
Scrape the Pan
Deglaze the still-hot roasting pan with a little bit of stock, wine, or even whiskey to scrape up every bit of flavor in there, and add to the roux along with the rest of the stock.
Cook the stock, whisking, until it reaches the desired thickness, and then check the seasoning levels, adjusting with some salt and pepper.
After you’ve made a basic stock, you can do almost anything with it; add some roasted mushrooms, add some cream, finish it off with a pat of butter, strain it for a smooth stock, or even add chopped giblets to make it a chunky stock. For more holiday inspiration, check out our 101 best Thanksgiving recipes.