Traditionally, a specific recipe for Thanksgiving Gravy wasn’t something I considered necessary, as it usually emerged as a cooking byproduct during our turkey preparation. After seasoning and roasting, the pan’s juices would intuitively transition into gravy, or that was my perception. However, it’s become apparent that this relaxed approach to gravy-making isn’t universal. So, let’s delve into an unfailing, savory, and silky recipe for thanksgiving gravy today that will undoubtedly have your holiday guests coming back for seconds. I’ll also touch upon several adaptations and iterations accumulated over time, from the simplest no-fuss gravy to the more elegant giblet version!
Elements of an Exceptional Turkey Gravy
Gravy preparation is often the last hurrah in our Thanksgiving Day meal prep. Indeed, a serving of hot gravy over your meticulously cooked turkey and sides is the ultimate finishing touch.
The journey to a tantalizing turkey gravy starts with a superior stock base, specifically the pan drippings and juices from your cooked turkey. For tips on marinating and roasting the perfect bird, look at our recipes: “Grandpa’s Finest Roast Turkey”, “Roast Turkey Breast Masterpiece”, or “Five Spice-Infused Roast Turkey”.
Each of these recipes provides insight into making gravy, but the essence of them can be condensed into two fundamental tips:
- Create a lush base of vegetables for your roast turkey, guaranteeing ample and flavorful pan drippings.
- As your turkey roasts, if the pan begins to dry out, be sure to add water—you absolutely don’t want your gravy tainted by the bitter taste of burnt turkey!
Even if your roasting pan burns or yields less drippings than anticipated, don’t lose heart! Enhance them with butter and chicken stock to craft a mouthwatering turkey gravy for your Thanksgiving spread.
Now, let’s jump into the recipe!
- Drippings from the turkey roasting pan
- 1/3 cup of turkey fat from the roasting pan (if you’re short on fat, top up with butter or vegetable oil to reach ⅓ cup)
- 2 to 3 cups of turkey or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (or as per your taste)
- ⅓ cup of all-purpose flour
- Turkey giblets (liver excluded. You may add turkey neck meat, if desired)
- 1 cup vegetables from the roasting pan (optional)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- Salt (as needed)
- Optional cornstarch slurry: 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- Pour pan drippings through a strainer into a fat separator. Transfer the fat and juices into a measuring cup. To reach 3 cups of liquid for your gravy, add hot water to your roasting tray and deglaze it to obtain extra “broth”. You may also add good quality store-bought chicken or turkey stock.
- Separate the fat remaining in the fat separator through the strainer into a measuring cup to get ⅓ cup, and set aside. If you have less than ⅓ cup of turkey fat, top up with vegetable oil or melted butter.
- Over medium heat, add the turkey fat, a tablespoon of butter, paprika, and freshly ground black pepper in a large saucepan. Once the fat begins to bubble, gradually whisk in ⅓ cup of all-purpose flour until you achieve a roux. Continue cooking the roux on medium heat for 1-2 minutes for a darker, more flavorful gravy.
- Gradually whisk in the 3 cups of turkey drippings or broth into the roux, increasing the heat to medium-high while whisking constantly. Continue whisking the gravy for another 2 minutes until it’s thick enough to coat a spoon. If you like, add minced giblets or a blended mixture of vegetables from the roasting pan. Season with soy sauces, salt, and more pepper as per your taste.
- If the gravy is too thin, thicken it with a water and cornstarch slurry to your liking. If it’s too thick, add more broth. Remember, the gravy will thicken slightly as it cools.
- Pour the gravy into a gravy boat as soon as it reaches your desired consistency, and serve immediately.
The recipe yields approximately 4 cups. Enjoy your festive meal!