So… what came first, Turkey or the Gravy? Everyone says you need turkey before the gravy, but that’s not really so- and really, who really cares. The point is you need the gravy first to make your life easier. Why? Because Thanksgiving can be an ordeal if you are short on the clock, unorganized, or really just don’t like to cook.
Even if you love being in the kitchen, you will still need to prioritize your time. For most cooks, the gravy is the most delicate, time-sensitive – yet over-consuming portion of the Thanksgiving menu. Let’s face it- most home cooks are afraid of digging in with the whisk. I’m here to tell you gravy is… welp, gravy, and I am about to make your hectic-kitchen-life a bit more humble.
Here is my formula for the best tasting do-ahead gravy ever.
Enjoy your guests this holiday season by taking some of the stress off your plate. It’s about being together anyway, isn’t it? Make the gravy a few days in advance, and don’t sweat the timely stuff ever again! Drink up, you have other things to worry about!
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
1 pound bone-in chicken wings
1 large unpeeled onion, root ball removed, cut in quarters
1 large carrot, peeled, cut in large chunks
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
A small handful of fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and 2 large bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine
8-10 cups of low-sodium chicken broth for added poultry flavor ( you can add water instead)
4-5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire or fish sauce
Kosher salt, and ground white pepper
Special Equipment :
Combine the fresh herbs and peppercorns into a delicate little bouquet and tie up tightly in the cheesecloth. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large high sided saucepan over medium-high heat. Salt chicken wings and gently place flat side down into the hot oil. Cook wings, occasionally turning until golden brown, about 10–12 minutes.
Add the onion, carrot, with the celery and cook until everything in the pan is deeply browned, 14–16 minutes.
Pour in the wine to deglaze the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until wine is reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes. Add stock and herbs then return to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and slow simmer, occasionally stirring, until liquid is reduced by a third, 35–40 additional minutes.
Remove herb packet and strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve covered with cheesecloth into a heatproof bowl. You should have about 4 cups. If you don’t, add sufficient stock or water to get you there.
Discard any solids. Keep stock warm while you make your roux.
Heat butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, continually whisking until roux is golden brown about 4 minutes. It will be clumpy like porage at this stage, don’t worry. Start making the gravy by whisking gently and continuously pouring the hot stock into the roux mixture. Be sure to incorporate each addition of liquid thoroughly, making it lump-free before adding any additional fluid. Some cooks use both hands, stirring while pouring, while others turn this into a team-building event.
Once you have a soup-like consistency, add the remaining stock, stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Whisk often, until gravy is thickened, and reduced to about 3 cups. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon; this will take about 8–10 minutes.
Conclude by adjusting the seasoning with Worcestershire or fish sauce, taste, and season with salt and white pepper if needed.
Cool, and store in an air-tight glass container. This beautiful Thanksgiving poultry gravy will hold in the cooler for at least 4-5 days.
Reheat and adjust flavor with salt and pepper. Use a few tablespoons of turkey pan drippings to awaken the poultry flavor.
Enjoy your guests.