Monday, January 31, 2011

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

There's a lot that goes into making a good gravy. I remember my mom deglazing the roasting pan, making the roux, and stirring the gravy until it was the perfect consistency. All the while stressing that everyone was waiting for dinner and the turkey was getting cold! Now that I make the turkey, I totally get it! I made this gravy last year and it helped our dinner stay on schedule and stress-free (well, almost). We have a smoker, so I smoked my turkey wings (3 hours at 225 degrees F.) and made the gravy three days ahead of Thanksgiving. If you cannot find smoked wings and don't have a smoker, just use fresh wings and roast them in the oven instead, as noted in the recipe. The arrowroot powder should be added no more than 10 minutes before serving. I ended up adding about 6 tablespoons to get it to a somewhat thickened consistency. (The photo is of leftover gravy so it is not as thick.) The flavor of this gravy is really good!

Make-ahead tip: Steps 1-7 can be completed up to three days in advance. You may make it even earlier and freeze the unthickened gravy until ready to use.

Adapted from

Makes 8-10 cups.

6 smoked turkey wings with pan drippings, or use fresh turkey wings (about 6 pounds)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, quartered
4 carrots, roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 head garlic, split lengthwise
8 stems fresh sage
8 sprigs fresh thyme
12 parsley stems
10 cups chicken stock
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbsp arrowroot powder
6 Tbsp water
turkey pan drippings, optional

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe roasting pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add wings, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs. Saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Place pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and place on stovetop over medium heat. Remove wings and set aside.
  6. Add de-fatted pan drippings and stock to pan and simmer over medium heat until it has reduce by about 1/4, 15-30 minutes.
  7. Strain the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a large Mason jar. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. When ready to use, combine arrowroot powder and water in a small bowl. 
  9. Transfer gravy to a medium sauce pan. Add additional pan drippings from your turkey, if desired. Bring gravy to a rolling boil over medium heat. 
  10. Add arrowroot mixture, continue to boil, and stir until thickened, about 10 minutes. 
  11. If necessary, repeat steps 8 and 9 until gravy reaches desired consistency. 
  12. Pour into gravy pitchers and serve immediately.

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