My dad was the “master” at making Turkey Gravy, so I feel that I learned from the master. Once Charlie and I started hosting holiday dinners around ten years ago, making the turkey gravy was always my father’s contribution to the family holiday meal. But, in recent years (probably at least the last four), I’ve had to take over this task because he is no longer physically able to stand at the stove and make gravy (health and age-related issues). But, all those years that he did make turkey gravy for us, I stood at his side and observed.
So while I’ve only been making gravy for the last several years, it came easy to me because of my years of observing the master!
Because I’ve made a Roasted Turkey ahead of time, I put the pan drippings in the refrigerator overnight to congeal the fat. By doing this ahead of time, my gravy is perfect, delicious and ready to go when it’s time to sit down to dinner!
You can still make this turkey gravy on “the day”; it’s just a little more difficult because you need to try and remove as much fat as you can from the pan drippings. It’s also more difficult because you have to do this while hungry guests (roasted turkey aroma, anyone?) are clamoring around you waiting for the moment when they can dig in!
By doing this (roasting a turkey the previous weekend), I’m assured of 2 things:
Perfect Turkey Gravy
Leftovers for delicious Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey Shepherd’s Pie, Creamed Turkey over Noodles or Rice, Turkey and Avocado Wraps, Turkey and Avocado Salad with Craisins, Turkey with Biscuits and Gravy, Turkey Pull-Apart Pot Pie, Turkey Divan, Turkey A’ La King, Turkey Fricassee, Turkey Mole’, Turkey Tetrazzini, Sweet-and-Sour Turkey, Turkey and Stuffing Casserole and let’s not forget the quintessential Turkey Soup! There – 15 reasons for turkey leftovers and 15 more recipes to look forward to in future blog posts!
I realize that this is a relatively long diatribe to lead up to a Turkey Gravy recipe, but just trying to share a “good idea” if you don’t already make your Turkey Gravy ahead of time.
One last comment before I share the recipe with you: I’ve shared in past recipe posts that I suffer from migraines and that my migraines are 99% of the time caused by MSG (monosodium glutamate) and other food additives, such as nitrates. So, I practice “avoidance”. When possible, I avoid eating foods that have these ingredients in them.
What do I mean “when possible”? It’s not always possible to know EXACTLY what is in everything we eat, for example, at restaurants. If you ask your waiter/waitress if they make a certain menu item “from scratch”, usually they end up telling you “no”. Because when you dig deeper (for example: a chicken that’s poached, roasted, or cooked and served in a sauce), and they go back to talk to the chef, they usually will come back and tell you that the things added to make a sauce or rub a meat or season a poaching liquid are “pre-packaged” and purchased from a food vendor. Then, I have to decide whether or not to chance it or order something different (we don’t go out much!).
I’m sharing this information again, because possibly there is a new migraine sufferer out there in the universe just finding his/her own “way” in trying to figure out their migraine triggers. Consider packaged foods may be a culprit.
In the past, it would take me hours and hours to grocery shop because on every bottle, can, package, envelope of the foods stocking our grocery store shelves, I’d have to read the ingredients to make sure I wasn’t setting myself up for a migraine. I’ve cut my shopping time down by buying less pre-packaged foods (I do buy bread, canned vegetables and some soups, some bottled sauces) and I make a great deal of our food from scratch. Even many salad dressings have MSG in them, including one of the most famous and beloved.
Both packaged gravy mixes and canned gravy (as do certain brands of chicken, beef and vegetable broths and stocks) have MSG in them. So, I practice “avoidance” of these products and make my own gravy.
So, finally, here’s my Turkey Gravy recipe:
- From top right photo: reserved pan drippings from a Roasted Turkey.
- Bottom right photo: strain pan drippings for turkey gravy through a fine sieve and discard accumulated fat and bits and pieces.
- Left photo: put turkey drippings into a container and refrigerate several hours or overnight until fat rises to the top and congeals.
- The next day, remove congealed turkey drippings from refrigerator. Scoop out about 4 tablespoons of the fat on the top and add to a large sauté pan and melt over medium heat.
- Scoop off remaining congealed fat from congealed turkey drippings and discard.
- Place congealed turkey drippings in a saucepan and heat on low to melt.
- Melted turkey drippings – notice my pan has a little pouring spout!
- Melted turkey fat in sauté pan.
- Add about 4 tablespoons flour to melted turkey fat and stir continuously until combined and mixture has no lumps.
- Stirring turkey fat and flour mixture.
- Pour melted turkey drippings from saucepan into sauté pan all at once and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Turkey Gravy is really an “eyeball” thing and if you didn’t measure your ingredients (which I didn’t!), then you may need to “adjust” the ratio to get a nice gravy consistency. Gravy should coat the back of a spoon, but if it doesn’t, no worries. Just mix several tablespoons of flour with several tablespoons of water and shake until there are no lumps. I use this great little shaker that I got years ago from Tupperware.
- Add additional flour/water mixture to boiling gravy and stir constantly until thickened. Don’t worry if you get a few lumps.
- When the Turkey Gravy seems the right consistency, remove from stove and strain into another pot.
- I poured it from my large sauté pan back into the saucepan, straining through a fine sieve. You can see that I put the pot in my sink to avoid unnecessary messes! Discard lumps.
- Perfect Turkey Gravy read to pour from my spouted saucepan into gravy boats! I don’t usually have to add salt to my gravy because I salt the cavity of my turkey and it transfers to the pan drippings, making this gravy perfectly salted (to my taste). But, you need to taste the gravy and correct the seasonings and add ground black pepper, it you like. Also, at this point, if making giblet gravy, add your giblets.
Here’s the recipe:
- 4 cups of turkey pan drippings, including about 4 tablespoons of reserved fat
- 8 tablespoons reserved fat from roasted turkey
- 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Salt, if desired
- Pepper, if desired
- Giblets (cooked), if desired
- Reserve pan drippings from Foil-wrapped Roasted Turkey.
- Skim pan drippings through a fine sieve to collect leftover bits-and-pieces of skin, turkey, meat, fat, etc. discarding the collected bits.
- If making turkey gravy ahead of time, skip Step 4 and follow recipe again starting at Step 5.
- If making turkey gravy on "the day", skip the next two steps and remove as much of the fat floating on top with a spoon or a fat-separator and discard all but a few tablespoons of fat.
- Put pan drippings in a container and refrigerate overnight or until fat has risen to the top of the pan drippings and congeals.
- Remove congealed fat from the surface of the pan drippings and discard all but about 8 tablespoons of the fat.
- Heat fat in a large skillet or pot (I prefer my very large, 12-inch, non-stick skillet) to melt.
- In the meantime, place the congealed pan drippings into a saucepan and heat to melt.
- Add flour to fat in skillet and stir to combine, removing all lumps (about 5 minutes).
- Add melted pan drippings from saucepan all at once into fat/flour mixture in skillet and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- If gravy does not coat the back of a spoon (isn't thick enough), mix additional flour and water into a shaker container and shake well to remove lumps.
- Add flour/water mixture slowly to gravy in skillet and stir continuously until right consistency.
- Taste and correct seasonings (salt and pepper).
- Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps.
- Add cooked giblets, if desired.
(other turkey and Thanksgiving recipes)
- Baked Sweet Potatoes with Warm Maple Drizzle and Pecans
- Cornbread Stuffing
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Pumpkin Patch Pals Pumpkin Pie
- Roasted Turkey
- Spinach Casserole
- Turkey and Avocado Salad with Craisins
- Turkey Pull-Apart Pot Pie
- Turkey Sandwich
- Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
- Turkey Soup