American, Holiday, Side Dishes, Thanksgiving

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

The Ultimate Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy: A Flavorful Symphony for Your Holiday Table

Hey there, food enthusiasts! If you’re like me, you believe that the secret to a truly epic holiday meal is the perfect gravy. That luscious, savory sauce that ties everything together and elevates your turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing to a whole new level of deliciousness. Today, I’m going to show you how to make a make-ahead gravy that will be the star of your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. With a little time and preparation, you can have a rich, flavorful gravy ready to go, so you can focus on enjoying the company of your loved ones. So, roll up your sleeves, put on your favorite apron, and let’s dive into the wonderful world of homemade make-ahead gravy, Anthony Bourdain style.

Part 1: Preparing the Stock

First things first, to create the best gravy, you need a fantastic stock. The base of our gravy will be a beautifully roasted turkey stock. To start, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Now, grab two turkey wings, two carrots, three celery stalks, one small onion, and four cloves of garlic. Give them a good chop, and place them in a large pot or Dutch Oven. Pop this mixture into the oven on the upper or middle rack, uncovered, and let it roast for about 2 hours. The roasting process will develop those deep, earthy flavors that will make your gravy truly outstanding.

Once you’ve roasted your ingredients to perfection, it’s time to turn them into stock. Add six cups of water to your pot and simmer everything on the stovetop, uncovered, for 45 minutes. You should end up with approximately 4 cups of delicious stock. If you find yourself a bit short, don’t worry – just add more water or chicken stock to reach that desired volume. Now, strain the stock into a bowl and let it chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, or even better, overnight. This step allows the flavors to meld and intensify.

Part 2: Crafting the Perfect Roux

The heart of any gravy is the roux. In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, melt 5 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is sizzling and fragrant, whisk in 1/3 cup of flour. This is where the magic happens! The flour will combine with the butter to create a golden-brown roux, which will serve as the thickening agent for your gravy.

Cook the roux for about 30 seconds, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. You want it to have a nutty aroma and a lovely, toasted color. Now, add the star of the show – your turkey stock. This is where the alchemy occurs. As you whisk the stock into the roux, the flavors of the roasted turkey, vegetables, and the rich, buttery roux will meld together, creating a symphony of flavors.

Part 3: The Finishing Touch

Once you’ve added the stock, it’s time to elevate your gravy to the next level. If you want a hint of brightness and depth, add a teaspoon of cider vinegar (this step is optional, but I highly recommend it). The vinegar cuts through the richness of the gravy, balancing it perfectly.

Now, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer until it thickens to your desired consistency. As it cools, the gravy will naturally thicken more, so don’t worry if it seems a bit thin at first.

Once it reaches your preferred thickness, turn off the heat. Take a moment to taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Remember, it’s always easier to add more seasoning than to fix an overly salty dish, so be judicious.

Part 4: The Make-Ahead Magic

Now that you’ve created a sensational gravy, you’re ready to embrace the make-ahead magic. The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare your gravy in advance, saving you time and stress on the big day. After all, holidays are meant for relaxation and enjoyment.

Once your gravy has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to serve, gently reheat it on the stove, adding a bit of water or stock if it has thickened too much. This make-ahead gravy will retain all the rich flavors and silky texture you worked so hard to create.

There you have it – a sumptuous, make-ahead gravy that will take your holiday meal to new heights. By roasting the ingredients for the stock, perfecting the roux, and adding a touch of vinegar, you’ve created a masterpiece that will impress your family and friends. Enjoy the time-saving benefits of preparing it in advance, and savor the applause that follows. This gravy is a delicious testament to your culinary prowess, and I’m sure Anthony Bourdain would approve. Happy holidays!

Tips and Tricks for Gravy Perfection

Creating a delectable make-ahead gravy can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not without its challenges. To help you achieve gravy perfection, let’s dive into some handy tips and tricks that will make your cooking process smoother and the final result even more impressive.

1. Don’t Rush the Roux:
The roux is the foundation of your gravy, and patience is key. Let it cook for about 30 seconds after whisking in the flour, but avoid letting it brown too quickly. A gentle, even toasting will result in a smooth, flavorful roux.

2. Whisk, Whisk, Whisk:
Throughout the gravy-making process, constant whisking is your best friend. It prevents lumps from forming in the roux, ensures even thickening, and helps blend the ingredients seamlessly. So, keep that whisk moving!

3. Use Homemade Stock Whenever Possible:
While store-bought stock can be a time-saver, if you have the opportunity to make your own, do it. Homemade stock is richer, more flavorful, and will take your gravy to the next level.

4. Season Wisely:
Seasoning is a crucial step in gravy-making. Start with a light hand and adjust as needed. Remember, you can always add more salt and pepper, but it’s challenging to fix an overly seasoned gravy.

5. Try Custom Herbs and Spices:
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider adding a touch of fresh herbs or spices to your gravy. A few sprigs of thyme, a pinch of sage, or a hint of nutmeg can infuse your gravy with unique and delightful flavors.

6. Make It Gluten-Free:
If you or your guests have dietary restrictions, you can easily adapt this recipe to be gluten-free. Simply use a gluten-free flour or a cornstarch slurry as a thickening agent instead of traditional flour.

7. Strain for Silky Smoothness:
For a velvety texture, strain your gravy before serving. This will remove any leftover lumps or bits of herbs and spices, giving you a silky, restaurant-quality finish.

8. Prep in Advance:
The beauty of this recipe is its make-ahead nature. Make your gravy a day or two before the big feast, and you’ll have more time to focus on other dishes and enjoy the celebration. Just reheat gently when it’s time to serve.

9. Taste as You Go:
Don’t hesitate to taste your gravy at various stages of the cooking process. This allows you to adjust flavors as needed, ensuring it meets your and your guests’ taste preferences.

10. Get Creative with Leftovers:
Don’t let any leftover gravy go to waste. Use it as a sauce for sandwiches, drizzle it over roasted vegetables, or incorporate it into soups and stews. Gravy is incredibly versatile and can enhance numerous dishes.

Bonus Tip: Elevate Your Gravy with Bacon Fat

For those who crave an extra layer of flavor and a hint of smokiness in their gravy, here’s a bonus tip: consider using bacon fat in your roux. Bacon fat is liquid gold in the culinary world, and it can work wonders in enhancing the depth and complexity of your gravy.

To incorporate bacon fat into your gravy, simply add 2 tbsp to butter while making your roux. Here’s how:

1. Begin by rendering the bacon fat from a few slices of quality bacon. As the bacon cooks, it will release its flavorful fat. Once the bacon turns crispy, remove it and set it aside to enjoy as a snack or to crumble over your finished gravy.

2. Now, in your sauté pan, use a combination of the rendered bacon fat and butter to create your roux. The bacon fat will infuse your gravy with its rich, smoky essence.

3. Follow the remaining steps of the gravy recipe as usual, and watch as your gravy takes on a whole new level of deliciousness.

Keep in mind that when you introduce bacon fat, the gravy will have a unique, savory character that pairs exceptionally well with roasted meats. It’s an ideal choice if you’re preparing a gravy for a smoky-flavored turkey or another smoked dish.

In conclusion, making a make-ahead gravy like a pro involves a few key techniques and a pinch of patience. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to serving up a truly outstanding gravy that will leave your guests raving about your culinary prowess. So, roll up your sleeves, follow the recipe with confidence, and prepare to impress everyone at your holiday table. Enjoy your culinary adventure!

Recipe Card

5 from 2 votes

Make Ahead Gravy for the Holiday

Servings: 8

Ingredients

Instructions

Watch the Video
Off On

  1. Part 1: Preparing the Stock

    First things first, to create the best gravy, you need a fantastic stock. The base of our gravy will be a beautifully roasted turkey stock. To start, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Now, grab two turkey wings, two carrots, three celery stalks, one small onion, and four cloves of garlic. Give them a good chop, and place them in a large pot or Dutch Oven. Pop this mixture into the oven on the upper or middle rack, uncovered, and let it roast for about 2 hours. The roasting process will develop those deep, earthy flavors that will make your gravy truly outstanding.

    Once you’ve roasted your ingredients to perfection, it’s time to turn them into stock. Add six cups of water to your pot and simmer everything on the stovetop, uncovered, for 45 minutes. You should end up with approximately 4 cups of delicious stock. If you find yourself a bit short, don’t worry – just add more water or chicken stock to reach that desired volume. Now, strain the stock into a bowl and let it chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, or even better, overnight. This step allows the flavors to meld and intensify.

    Part 2: Crafting the Perfect Roux

    The heart of any gravy is the roux. In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, melt 5 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is sizzling and fragrant, whisk in 1/3 cup of flour. This is where the magic happens! The flour will combine with the butter to create a golden-brown roux, which will serve as the thickening agent for your gravy.

    Cook the roux for about 30 seconds, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. You want it to have a nutty aroma and a lovely, toasted color. Now, add the star of the show – your turkey stock. This is where the alchemy occurs. As you whisk the stock into the roux, the flavors of the roasted turkey, vegetables, and the rich, buttery roux will meld together, creating a symphony of flavors.

     




     

    Part 3: The Finishing Touch

    Once you’ve added the stock, it’s time to elevate your gravy to the next level. If you want a hint of brightness and depth, add a teaspoon of cider vinegar (this step is optional, but I highly recommend it). The vinegar cuts through the richness of the gravy, balancing it perfectly.

    Now, bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer until it thickens to your desired consistency. As it cools, the gravy will naturally thicken more, so don’t worry if it seems a bit thin at first.

    Once it reaches your preferred thickness, turn off the heat. Take a moment to taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Remember, it’s always easier to add more seasoning than to fix an overly salty dish, so be judicious.

     

    Part 4: The Make-Ahead Magic

    Now that you’ve created a sensational gravy, you’re ready to embrace the make-ahead magic. The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare your gravy in advance, saving you time and stress on the big day. After all, holidays are meant for relaxation and enjoyment.

    Once your gravy has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to serve, gently reheat it on the stove, adding a bit of water or stock if it has thickened too much. This make-ahead gravy will retain all the rich flavors and silky texture you worked so hard to create.

    Bonus Tip: Elevate Your Gravy with Bacon Fat

    For those who crave an extra layer of flavor and a hint of smokiness in their gravy, here’s a bonus tip: consider using bacon fat in your roux. Bacon fat is liquid gold in the culinary world, and it can work wonders in enhancing the depth and complexity of your gravy.

    To incorporate bacon fat into your gravy, simply add 2 tbsp to butter while making your roux. Here’s how:

    1. Begin by rendering the bacon fat from a few slices of quality bacon. As the bacon cooks, it will release its flavorful fat. Once the bacon turns crispy, remove it and set it aside to enjoy as a snack or to crumble over your finished gravy.

    2. Now, in your sauté pan, use a combination of the rendered bacon fat and butter to create your roux. The bacon fat will infuse your gravy with its rich, smoky essence.

    3. Follow the remaining steps of the gravy recipe as usual, and watch as your gravy takes on a whole new level of deliciousness.

    Keep in mind that when you introduce bacon fat, the gravy will have a unique, savory character that pairs exceptionally well with roasted meats. It’s an ideal choice if you’re preparing a gravy for a smoky-flavored turkey or another smoked dish.

    So, whether you’re a bacon enthusiast or simply looking to add a distinctive twist to your gravy, don’t hesitate to experiment with bacon fat in your roux. Your taste buds will thank you for the indulgent experience. Enjoy your culinary adventure, and have a memorable feast!

Equipment

Just a heads up: This page might contain affiliate links. I’m here to share the kitchen tools I personally rely on daily. If you decide to click on a link and make a purchase, please be assured that you won’t incur any additional costs. However, I may earn a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Hey family,

My name is Aaron Brown. You can call me “A.B.”

My mission is to help you level up the process of making your favorite mealswith my video tutorials and recipe guides,plus my tried-and-true spices, cookware, and more that make every meal special.

Sign Up For Our E-Newsletter
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR E-NEWSLETTER

Get a Free Recipe + 10% off when you sign up for our email list.

No spam… you’ll only receive notifications about new meals, videos, products, and updates!

Browse Recipes by Category

Most Popular Recipes

Featured Products

Cookbooks

E-Newsletter Signup

Get a free recipe + 10% off when you sign up for my email list.

No spam… you’ll only receive notifications about my latest meals, YouTube videos, products, and updates!

New Cookbook
Never over/undercook your food again with SnG Food Thermometer! This handy tool accurately measures food temperatures and eliminates the guesswork. Get your food cooked to perfection every time! Available in colors black and red.