The best laid plans of bird and yams often go astray. Despite the onslaught of tips and tricks that surround the Thanksgiving feast, there will inevitably be dry turkeys, bland dressing, and questionable side dishes. Luckily, these are all treatable afflictions, and the remedy is gravy.
The word gravy is literally a blanket term for any sauce made from the fat and juices exuded during cooking. But it has also worked its way into our collective lexicon to describe a lucrative endeavor ("gravy train"), extra benefits ("everything else is gravy"), or how everything is just fine ("Don't worry. It's all gravy"). Unless your aspirations include being mistaken for large marine life, it's normally reserved for special occasions like holidays or chicken fried steak. The bottom line: Gravy makes everything more delicious. This is also true of bacon, and deep-frying.
Side Note: Earlier this month we were presented with deep-fried bacon and a side of white cream gravy at Catalan. We half expected the dish to spontaneously combust, each individual component far too powerful to be used in combination with another of similar magnitude. Our reaction was similar to Meg Ryan's famous diner scene in When Harry Met Sally--only we weren't faking anything.
We've provided a standard seven-step guide to turkey gravy below. Whether you like it thick or thin, prefer it with giblets or mushrooms, we suggest making extra for those who will be ladling it on top of everything but the pumpkin pie.
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Good Gravy in 7 Easy Steps
1. Once the turkey is done remove from roasting pan and transfer to a serving platter or cutting board. 2. Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a measuring cup and let stand until fat separates and rises to the top. 3. Spoon or ladle the fat into a separate container, set aside. 4. Return the juices to the roasting pan and place over stovetop burners at medium heat. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon and taking care to get all over the browned bits ("fond") from the bottom of the pan. Fond is essential to good gravy. TIP: adding ½ cup white wine will make the process easier (deglazing the pan) 5. Add turkey or chicken stock until you have the desired amount of gravy. If you like giblets, add in now. 6. Combine the fat you placed aside with an equal amount of flour and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for around 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles and turns brown. 7. Gradually whisk in gravy base (from the roasting pan) and 2 tablespoons of butter. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and continue cooking until desired consistency is achieved (sauce will begin to thicken). Add salt and pepper to taste.
If gravy is too thick: Add more stock If gravy is too thin: Add more flour
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com