How to Make Turkey Gravy: Recipe & Troubleshooting

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How to Make Turkey Gravy: A Tutorial & Recipe

While the Thanksgiving feast is often filled with potential pitfalls, from overcooked turkey to lumpy mashed potatoes, nothing seems to cause more angst than making gravy. If done well, turkey gravy can be the star of the show, enveloping everything on the plate in a rich, savory blanket. If you are like my brother-in-law, gravy is by far the most important part of the meal, prompting your relatives to buy you a gravy thermos so that you can have your own personal supply of the thick sauce sitting beside your placemat. Everyone deserves to be indulged once in a while.

This recipe does not involve adding wine or herbs, though those things can provide very satisfying results, too. Rather, this version is as basic as turkey gravy recipe can get. And you know what? It works every time. Be sure to scroll down beyond the recipe for some troubleshooting tips, just in case you run into problems. Is your gravy too thick? Too thin? Too salty? I listed solutions for all of those problems, plus a few more. Now, get out there and grab that proverbial bull by the horns ... or turkey by the wattle. Whatever floats your Mayflower.

The recipe:

Pour the turkey drippings into a large measuring cup. Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then spoon off the fat. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the fat. If you have one of those liquid measures made for this purpose, then this process will be even easier.

Add enough turkey or chicken broth to the drippings to total about 4 cups of liquid in all.

TurkeyGravy1

Set the roasting pan, lovely brown bits included, over top burners that are set on medium heat. Add reserved turkey fat and butter and melt, scraping up the browned turkey bits with a wooden spoon.

Add flour and, using a whisk, stir until this mixture (called a roux) reaches a dark brown color, 4 to 5 minutes.

Turkey Gravy Collage 2

Whisking constantly, slowly add the broth mixture to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat slightly so that the mixture is simmering. Cook, whisking frequently, until the gravy is thick and smooth, about 15 minutes.

Turkey Gravy Collage

Lower heat and keep warm, whisking occasionally to stop a skin from forming, until ready to serve.

TurkeyGravyLS

Gravy Troubleshooting:

Problem: The gravy is too thin.
Solution: Continue simmering. If the gravy still does not thicken, add a slurry. A slurry is made by completely dissolving flour or cornstarch in cold water. Whisk the slurry into the gravy, a little bit at a time, until the gravy thickens.

Problem: The gravy is too thick.
Solution: Whisk in additional turkey or chicken broth.

Problem: The gravy is too salty.
Solution: Whisk in some water to dilute the salt concentration. Alternatively, add a few thick slices of raw potato and simmer until the potato is soft. It will absorb the salt. Remove the potato before serving.

Problem: The gravy is lumpy.
Solution: Continue to simmer the gravy, whisking constantly, until the gravy is smooth. If the gravy still has lumps, pass it through a fine mesh strainer or process with an immersion blender.

Problem: A skin formed on top of the gravy.
Solution: Skim off the skin and bring the gravy to a simmer, whisking constantly.

Once again for those who want to skip the pictures...

Turkey Gravy

3 1/2 cups (approximately) turkey or low-salt chicken broth
4 tbsp (approximately) unsalted butter
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper

Pour the turkey drippings into a large measuring cup. Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then spoon off the fat and discard. If you have one of those liquid measures made for this purpose, then this process will be even easier.

Add enough chicken broth to the drippings to total about 4 cups of liquid in all.

Set the roasting pan, lovely brown bits included, over top burners that are set on medium heat. Add butter and melt, scraping up the browned turkey bits with a wooden spoon. Add flour and, using a whisk, stir until this mixture (called a roux) reaches a dark brown color, 4 to 5 minutes.

Whisking constantly, slowly add the broth mixture to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat slightly so that the mixture is simmering. Cook, whisking frequently, until the gravy is thick and smooth, about 15 minutes. Lower heat and keep warm, whisking occasionally to stop a skin from forming, until ready to serve.

Makes about 3 cups gravy.

Printable recipe

Pictures and recipes from Cook in Canuck.

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