How to make gravy for the Thanksgiving turkey is one of the most pressing question around this time of year. Why? Because for some folks, it’s the best part of Thanksgiving—and I agree!
Made by thickening the pan drippings and turkey broth with a roux (a mixture of flour and fat), gravy is pure essence of turkey. It’s easiest to make it right in the roasting pan, but if your pan isn’t flameproof, use a saucepan instead. After you pour off the liquid drippings from the roasting pan, pour some of the broth into the hot roasting pan and scrape with a wooden spoon to capture any cooked-on drippings.
Pan Gravy Step-by-step
1. Heat the turkey broth. Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a heatproof cup. Let the fat rise to the top and then spoon the fat you need for the
gravy back into the roasting pan. Skim off and discard the remaining fat from the juices; add the juices to the broth. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Sprinkle the flour into the pan. Stir with a flat whisk or wooden spoon and cook for about 2 minutes.
2. To keep lumps from forming in the gravy, slowly pour about 1⁄2 cup of the broth into the pan while whisking vigorously to disperse the flour evenly into the liquid. The liquid should thicken quickly and turn gluey. As soon as it thickens, add another 1⁄2 cup or so of broth while whisking. Repeat until the gravy starts looking more like a smooth sauce than glue.
3. Whisk in the remaining broth and bring the gravy to a simmer. Add a few sprigs of thyme and simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain the gravy through a medium sieve, season with salt and pepper, and serve in a heated gravy boat or other vessel.
You’ll need about ⅓ cup gravy per person. For each cup of gravy, use 1 cup of liquid, 1 tablespoon fat, and 1-½ tablespoons flour. For example, to make 12 servings of gravy, use 4 cups liquid (turkey broth plus defatted pan juices), 4 tablespoons fat, and 6 tablespoons flour. If you don’t have enough broth and pan juices for the amount of gravy you need, add homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth to make up the difference.
Best Tool for Separating Drippings
One way to separate the fat from the pan drippings is to let the liquid rest for a few minutes and then spoon off the fat that rises to the top. A neater way is to pour the pan juices, fat and all, into a fat separator, which looks like a measuring cup with a spout. The spout connects to the bottom of the cup, which allows you to pour off the heavier liquid, leaving the fat behind.
This is my favorite: OXO Good Grips Good Gravy 4-Cup Fat Separator
Turrkey Gravy with Herbs
- Pan drippings from roast turkey
- 3 cups turkey or low-salt chicken broth
- ¼ cups (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (chives, chervil, parsley, thyme, marjoram) or 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs
- Kosher alt and fresh ground black pepper
- After removing the turkey from the roasting pan, tilt the pan so the pan juices collect in one corner. Pour all the juices into a large (4-cup) measuring cup and leave undisturbed so the fat rises to the top. Pour off and discard as much of the fat as you can, carefully reserving all the pan juices underneath.
- Set the roasting pan over medium-high heat; when it’s hot, pour in about 1 cup of the broth and scrape up the browned juices in the pan. Strain this liquid into the cup with the pan drippings. Add the remaining 2 cups broth; you should have about 3 1⁄2 cups. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, knead the butter and flour together to make a smooth paste (called a beurre manié), and then whisk the paste, a few pieces at a time, into the boiling mixture until the gravy reaches a consistency that you like. You might not need to use all of the beurre manié. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes to cook off any floury taste. Stir in the herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and keep the gravy warm until everything else is on the table.
with a little flour, and let the gravy simmer to thicken.