31 October 2019

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth / www.delightfulrepast.com

Turkey Gravy is the highlight of any turkey dinner. Whether you're hosting a turkey dinner or doing a make-and-take side for dinner at someone else's house, you can be in charge of the gravy!

(I first posted this three years ago, though I've been making it for decades. If you read it then but didn't try it, please read it again and give it a go now!)

If you've never made the gravy ahead of time, you're going to thank me for this. It's the only way to go when you've got a dozen things on the menu, some of which need doing at the last minute. 

You know what I'm talking about. The classic mashed potatoes are mashed at the last minute, the dinner rolls are heated at the last minute, so many things to see to. By the time you sit down at the table, you're exhausted! 

But you can get the turkey broth and gravy done well in advance. You'll have enough broth for stuffing/dressing as well as gravy. Just freeze both until a day or two before you need them. If you make it two or three days ahead, just refrigerate it.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth / www.delightfulrepast.com
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(You can make the Cranberry Sauce two days ahead. Try it! You'll never go back to canned! Actually, some people love the canned cut into slices, so I sometimes serve both.)

Though it's made with just 2 pounds of turkey, the gravy tastes wonderful. But, if you want added flavor or want to increase the amount of gravy, when you take your turkey out of the pan on the big day, combine the pan drippings (minus the fat) and make-ahead gravy for added oomph.

About the broth: I'm a huge fan of store-bought organic free-range low-sodium chicken broth, but NOT for anything to do with a turkey dinner. You MUST make turkey broth, whether this way or with the neck, etc, on the day you roast the turkey, or both.

Do you like to make things ahead or do it all on the day? My mother always did pretty much everything on the day, but she was made of sterner stuff. I have to stretch it out!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth (this photo - the roasted drumsticks) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy


(Makes about 4 cups)

The Turkey

2 turkey drumsticks* (about 2 pounds/0.91 kg total)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dry sherry plus enough water to make 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml)


* Other parts might work, too, but I've only ever used drumsticks as they are more readily available where I shop.

The Broth


The Turkey, above, cooked
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
4 medium celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
Handful of fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2 1/2 quarts (80 fluid ounces/2.36 litres) water

The Gravy


1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

4 cups (32 fluid ounces/946 ml) of The Broth

1 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Lightly oil (about 1/2 teaspoon) a heavy-duty quarter sheet pan. Pat the drumsticks dry and place them in the prepared pan. Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Roast for 60 to 70 minutes. Sixty minutes would probably be enough, but I like to get maximum brown bits in the roasting pan.

Note: If you don't see lots of brown in your pan after 70 minutes, let it go longer. This is a crucial step. Just be sure you don't let it burn.

2 Transfer the drumsticks to a 5-quart pot (I use a Le Creuset 5.5-quart round French oven); set aside for the moment.

3 Place the roasting pan on the stove and pour in the liquid a little at a time, stirring and scraping up the browned bits. When pan is completely deglazed, pour the liquid into a jar, bowl or 1-cup glass measure; refrigerate. You'll see from the photo that I ended up with about 1/4 cup of fat, which is perfect!

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth (this photo - pan drippings) / www.delightfulrepast.com


4 Add vegetables and seasonings to the pot, along with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with lid slightly ajar for 4 hours, checking liquid level after second and third hours and adding more water only if needed.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Broth (this photo - the broth) / www.delightfulrepast.com


5 Strain the broth into a 2-quart glass measure. You will have 6 to 8 cups of broth.

6 Transfer your refrigerated pan drippings to a 2-quart saucepan and begin heating. Add flour to pan drippings and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

7 Add about 1/2 cup of the stock and whisk briskly until very smooth, then add remaining broth. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, until the gravy thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

8 Leave the gravy as is or strain into a 4-cup glass measure. Pour it into a 6-cup glass freezer container. Let cool a bit at room temperature, refrigerate until cold, then freeze until the day before you want to serve it.


9 The day before you want to use it, transfer the gravy from freezer to refrigerator. Reheat the thawed gravy, combining it with the defatted pan drippings for even more flavor.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

42 comments:

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

I never quite understood the purpose of gravy. But then I’m not a big soup eater either, and for me gravy is a slightly salty, somewhat greasy, bland soup. It’s one function on my menu is to save a bad, overcooked meal by drowning everything that “Hell’s Kitchen” dried out. It does look nice filling the caldera of a mashed potato volcano, though. All that said, your exquisite descriptions incline me to think I’ve missed gravy done right.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, thank you. And, yes, I too am inclined to think you've missed gravy done right. There is an awful lot of awfully bad gravy out there, so chances are …

Vee said...

Timely! I tried the turkey drumsticks a few years ago for the gravy in advance. It was a total bust. I probably should have baked them longer. Anything that can be done ahead for holiday dinners is very wise time management.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Vee! I hope this does the trick for you. Let me know!

Lorrie said...

I did not see this post before, but I'm going to give it a try this year. Maybe this weekend! Anything that can be done ahead is good in my book!

Angie's Recipes said...

When can I come over for the BIG dinner, Jean? That gravy must be amazing!

TONY said...

This sounds brilliant Jean. A little confused about scraping up the brown bits and also why do you put vegetables in the stock? I got a bit lost in understanding every stage but hey I am just a simple sort of person at heart.

I am gearing up to making my Christmas Cake next week. I have found a recipe from the ,"Hairy Bikers," ( have you heard of them?) which adds a bit of ,"zing," to the flavour. There are more ingredients than for the Christmas Cakes I have made in recent years but it sounds really good.

Any more Christmas cooking tips coming up Jean?

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

YUM!! Thanks so much for linking up at #AThemedLinkup 4 for All Things Thanksgiving. Shared.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lorrie, thanks. I'm so glad you're going to try it. If I don't make as many things ahead as possible for a big dinner, these days it's going to be a pretty small dinner! :D

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

That would be so fun, Angie!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, thank you! About scraping up the brown bits, you waste a lot of flavor if you don't thoroughly deglaze the roasting pan, scraping up "the brown bits," or as it's officially called, "fond." And about the vegetables in stock, well, if you haven't been putting vegetables in your stock, you are going to be amazed at the flavor when you try it. And I hope you'll take a look at my fruitcake recipe--I haven't made the Hairy Bikers recipe, but looking at it, I can tell I like my own better! :D

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Dee! I always enjoy your linkups!

Jeanie said...

Great idea and it sounds really wonderful! Rick is my go-to gravy guy. I'll make sure he sees this. (or not, and dazzle him!)

Creations By Cindy said...

Thanks Jean for the recipe. I love to make gravy of all kinds. I always make my traditional giblet gravy as my granny called it for Thanksgiving to go with my dressing. But my dressing is soft and really doesn't need the gravy but we love it. LOL! Hope you have a wonderful week and yes girl...anything I can do ahead of time I do. Sure helps cutting down on my time especially when I have a large family to prepare for. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Not sure I'd want to dazzle him; you don't want him to decide to turn the task over to you from now on! :D

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Cindy. I always have to cook parts of a big dinner ahead, even if I have time on the day--it clears my mind! :-)

SImple and Serene Living said...

Great idea. xo Laura

TONY said...

The Hairy Bikers do more than Christmas Cake recipe. I was going to go for the Spiced Christmas Cake Recipe, BUT, I will definitely have a look at yours too, Jean.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Someday I would like to try this make ahead gravy. I always just make gravy while the turkey is resting after taking it out of the oven. Sometimes I have frozen some broth which I use for this and yes, I always make broth using some veggies! Gravy in our house is akin to the icing on the cake! Dinner just isn't the same without it pooling around the potatoes and dressing although sometimes we like it served inside the "caldera" of the mashed potato. Since we've already had Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner will be a little smaller than last year as none of my family living away will be coming home except perhaps one of my grandsons. It will be nice just the same. Enjoy your weekend, Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Laura. I love it!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tony. Mine is more lightly spiced than theirs. I like just a hint of spice in my fruitcake.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, thank you for sharing your thoughts on gravy. I agree, dinner just isn't the same without it! And I see you noticed Sully's comment ("caldera"). :D

ellen b. said...

Thank you Jean. Such a good idea to make the Turkey day preparations less stressful.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Ellen, I'm into streamlining any meal these days (as long as it doesn't involve "convenience" foods!).

Cocoa and Lavender said...

This post (and recipe) is pure gold! Especially at this time of year.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

David, thanks so much! I hope it will be useful for a lot of people.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Gravy is always one of the best bits of any traditional roast dinner in my view. I'm totally with you when it comes to creating a proper turkey broth (and about making your own cranberry sauce too). Although I feel like a fraud saying so because someone recently showed me pictures taken on the occasion that I last cooked a traditional Christmas dinner. They were dated 1989. I'm clearly not a traditionalist.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, maybe if you roast a turkey in 2019, you can have a once-every-30-years tradition! :D I did one in February and may do another next week; I'm clearly not a traditionalist either.

Miz Helen said...

What a great idea to make the gravy ahead of time and your recipe is fantastic! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday,456. We look forward to seeing you again very soon!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Miz Helen! Having to get a new refrigerator this week has me a bit behind schedule, but all in all, not a bad week so far!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I almost always make my turkey gravy ahead of time, too, and do it basically the same way you did yours. Makes Thanksgiving dinner much easier -- one last-minute thing you don't have to worry about making.

Tamago said...

It's better to make whatever can be made ahead of time for sure. Good stress reducing strategy :-) I make chicken stock for my kitties. Roasting at first brings good flavor :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Eventually we figure a few things out, right, John?! :D

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Your kitties have THE best mom, Tamago! :-)

Shelbee on the Edge said...

Oh a good gravy can really make the meal! My kids love covering everything in gravy! I will try your recipe because my gravy always ends up a little bit lumpy. Not terribly so and it still tastes delicious, but I could do without the lumps! Thanks for sharing and linking up.

Shelbee
www.shelbeeontheedge.com

Lowcarb team member said...

I do think it helps if you can make/prepare some of the food before you need it.
Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks and sounds great.

All the best Jan

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Shelbee, thanks so much. And I'm glad to hear you have a Gravy Family! Thanks for hosting #SpreadTheKindness.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Jan. Yes, I really need to spread the work out for big-deal dinners these days! :-)

Erin- Big Green House said...

Thanks for sharing at the Fabulous Friday Linky Party! We hope you can join us again this week >>https://abiggreenhouse.com/the-super-fabulous-friday-linky-party-7/

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Erin! Have a great weekend!

Rhonda Gales said...

Your turkey gravy looks delicious and I need turkey broth for a recipe I plan to make in the future. Please share on my Sunday's Best Linkup. We're celebrating Thanksgiving over there, but other posts are welcome too. Starts every Saturday night at 8:00 pm EST.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Rhonda. I'll do that! I hope you'll like the broth and gravy as much as we do!

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