Sunday, November 21, 2010

Please Pass the Gravy - a plan for a stress-free Thanksgiving

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I put the Christmas lights up in our backyard. (Yes, we put lights in our backyard. See December24, 2009 post "Christmas Lights.") We usually don't turn them on until the day after Thanksgiving, but after we got them up yesterday, I couldn't bear to unplug them.

"Just tonight," I told Kent. "Then we'll wait till next Friday."

Then, late last night, it began to snow. Christmas lights look so much prettier with snow. Kent had gone to bed. Joel was still out with friends. I was making my Thanksgiving gravy ahead of time. (I got the idea from my friend, Judy. She's a wonderful cook and she has a fabulous recipe blog - With the wonderful smell of roasting turkey filling the house, that unique stillness that only comes when it snows at night, and the glow of colored lights out the family room windows, I was really enjoying a peaceful start to the holiday season. A little soft Christmas music playing in the background, a steaming cup of peppermint tea...

And on Thursday, when the turkey comes out of the oven, I won't have to stress about making the gravy. If I want to, I can make some more, but I won't have to worry about having enough drippings or ending up with lumps. Because right now, I have half a gallon of really good turkey gravy in a Ziplock bag in my freezer.

And as the holiday season starts to pick up and get stressful (our daughter is getting married a week before Christmas), I have last evening to look back on.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

6 turkey wings, drumsticks or thighs (I used thighs)
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup water
2 quarts chicken broth, divided
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (I used sage instead)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange a single layer of turkey pieces in a large roasting pan. Scatter onions over the top. Roast in preheated oven for one hour and fifteen minutes.

Place browned turkey pieces and onions in a 5 quart stockpot. Add the one cup of water to the roasting pan and stir and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the water into the stockpot. Stir in 6 cups of chicken broth, carrots, and thyme (sage). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for one and a half hours.

Remove turkey pieces from the pot and place on a cutting board. When the pieces are cool, remove skin and discard. Take the meat from the bones and save for another use. (Freezes well.) Strain contents of stockpot through a large strainer into a 3 quart saucepan. Press on the vegetables to remove any remaining liquid. Discards the vegetables and skim the fat off the liquid.

Bring the contents of the pot to a gentle boil.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour into the remaining two cups of broth until smooth. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the simmering turkey broth. Simmer 3-4 more minutes or until gravy has thickened. Stir in the buttter and pepper. Add more sage (or any seasonings) to taste.

Serve immediately or pour into containers and refrigerate or freeze.

1 comment:

  1. Just finished a batch of delicious gravy. The house smells wonderful. It's 65 degrees outside and not a snowflake in sight...