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Make-Ahead Gravy

by on November 13, 2007 · 5 comments

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m collecting easy and reliable Thanksgiving dishes. With one oven and a turkey that will be occupying it for a good 3 hours, make-ahead and stove-top dishes are a plus.

This make-ahead gravy recipe, an old one from Woman’s Day magazine, has been getting rave reviews on various food boards. I’m posting it here for safe-keeping and will add a review when I make this. WD says it can be made up to 3 months in advance, frozen, and thawed for 2 days in the refrigerator. I changed the directions slightly. WD says to skim the fat off immediately, but I plan to chill it overnight and let the fat rise to the top. It’s a make-ahead recipe, so why rush?

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

4 turkey wings (about 3 lbs)
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup water
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. stick butter or margarine
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Have ready a large roasting pan.

Arrange wings in a single layer in pan; scatter onions over top. Roast 1 1/4 hours until wings are browned.

Put wings and onions in a 5-to-6 qt. pot. Pour water in roasting pan and stir, scraping up brown bits from bottom. Add to pot with wings and onions. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), carrot and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours.

Remove wings to cutting board. When cool, pull off skin and meat. Discard skin; save meat for another use.

Strain broth into a large container, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables; refrigerate broth and allow fat to rise to top. Skim off fat. Transfer broth to 3 quart pot and set on stove.

In a bowl, whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until blended and smooth.

Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil. Whisk in broth-flour mixture and boil 3 to 4 minutes to thicken gravy and remove floury taste.

Stir in butter and pepper. Serve or pour into containers; refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.

Makes 8 cups

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Published on November 13, 2007

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue November 13, 2007 at 10:03 am

Hi Anna!
There is a blog called the Pioneer Woman cooks.
For the past few weeks she has been writing about preparing for Thanksgiving. So far, I think she has covered, turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and squash. You might want to take a look. She gives a make ahead mashed potato recipe that sounds good, but ridiculously high fat. I know I’ve seen other recipes that weren’t quite so decadent.
In an earlier post you commented on wanting to serve favorites and make everyone happy. I try to do that too, but seriously; you can’t make everyone happy all of the time. Plan a great meal and serve some family traditions and a few faves, but try not to stress too much. If you’re happy, most everyone else will be too.
Take Care!

Cindy November 13, 2007 at 6:05 pm

I’ve been thinking about this recipe all day, and I even looked at turkey wings at the store this afternoon. But I’ve decided it would be too time consuming and I’ll stick to my usual plan. On Thanksgiving, I make gravy with chicken broth, timing it to be done about the time the turkey comes out of the oven, and adding a little bit of turkey drippings for flavor and refrigerating the rest of the drippings. So we have “real” turkey gravy with leftovers (planned-overs!) after the drippings have been degreased.
Our signature dishes are green bean casserole, homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie from my mother’s recipe (it’s more of a pumpkin custard pie).

Angie November 14, 2007 at 5:27 am


That’s a good idea for the gravy. I have 21 people for thanksgiving dinner and I am always looking for shortcuts. One thing that I do every year and I read about in a magazine is I make the mashed potatoes in the morning…usually 10 pounds of potatoes and I place them in a crockpot on low…I add some butter to the top and they stay moist and delicious for hours…they dont dry out at all. I do all of my baking the night before and I also make stuffing balls…I dont like stuffing the turkey, early inth morninga swell and place them on cookies sheets and I cover them with parchment paper to bake at the last minute. These are things I have been doing for awhile now and they help me thank I am organized and cool. ( I am cool but this way I feel cool!)

Anita November 14, 2007 at 11:07 am

I like to brine my turkey before roasting it, which leads to extremely salty drippings. I’ve been making my gravy stock ahead of time with roasted turkey wings and necks for a couple of years now. Make sure that the wings are a deep mahogany color before cooking them with the chicken broth. I usually make my gravy stock a couple of days ahead of time. Skim off the fat and then add some of the turkey drippings and juices to the gravy stock on Thanksgiving. I use a cornstarch slurry to thicken my gravy, rather than flour. It always comes out great.

Anna November 14, 2007 at 11:40 am

Sue, thanks for the link. I haven’t read that site in a while, but I do like it.
As for those potatoes, what keeps them so creamy is all the fat. They are certainly delicious!

Angie, the crockpot potatoes sound good. Another thing I might try is cooking the potatoes in the crockpot for a few hours until tender, then mashing them quickly before dinner. Then again, if they don’t dry out…..I guess adding butter is key.

Anita, I made Alton Brown’s brined turkey about 4 or 5 years ago and it was amazing. I’m just not sure I can find room for brining this year. My new refrigerator is not very big.

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