As that big day comes closer, turkey talk increases, to brine or not to brine debates ensue and worries over making the gravy creep in. As there are so many recipes for turkey, the same seems to go for the gravy. I have switched up my recipe over the years as well, but no matter the recipe there are a few basic steps.
Making the roux is based on equal amounts of fat and flour. Cornstarch can be used instead of the flour, taking into consideration of what type of gravy I’m making. If I want to have a darker roux, I use flour as cornstarch will not darken when cooked longer. Also, if cooked too long, cornstarch will break down and the gravy becomes thin.
Because this post is about making gravy ahead of time and freezing, using flour is a better choice. I usually make my gravy when the turkey is resting, whisking away as I’m multi-tasking several dishes to get the Thanksgiving dinner on the table in perfect timing.
This year I’ve decided to prepare not just my turkey stock ahead of time, but also the gravy. In testing this out, freezing gravy is definitely a timesaving option. Defrosting the gravy a day ahead, it will look a bit odd, but slowly heating and whisking the gravy will pull it back together. As I note in the recipe below, if it seems a bit thin, making a slurry of cornstarch and turkey broth, then adding it in and whisking quickly will thicken it back up.
If making the gravy ahead and freezing is a bit overkill, I get it. But without a doubt, making the turkey stock is a must for my Thanksgiving. I will use the stock to flavor the stuffing, baste the turkey, and of course make the gravy. And leftover stock for next day turkey soup is rich and flavorful.
Herb Infused Turkey Gravy
Leftover Turkey Dripping, about 2 – 3 tablespoons
1/2 cup red wine
In a small saucepan, combine the turkey drippings, about 3 tablespoons and red wine. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for approximately 7-10 minutes till reduced halfway. Pour into fat separator and set aside.
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons flour, I used white/wheat blend flour
4-6 cups turkey stock
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil. Add in the shallot and sauté a few minutes. Add in the flour and whisk briskly to make a roux. Continue for about 3-5 minutes as the mixture becomes thick and smooth.
Begin to pour in the turkey stock slowly, 1 – 2 cups at a time, whisking to incorporate well. Add in the herbs. Bring gravy to a boil, reduce to a simmer, whisking occasionally about 10 minutes. Stir in the dripping/wine reduction and continue to whisk and cook to desired consistency. Remove herbs and discard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If freezing, allow to cool and freeze.
Defrost gravy one day before. The appearance will not look right, but gently warm the gravy, whisking to blend well. If the gravy appears thin, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon turkey broth to create a slurry. Add slurry to simmering gravy, whisk quickly to thicken gravy. Taste and season again to taste.