How to Make Gravy for Christmas - Mike's Family Recipe
December 07, 20213 min read
Everybody likes gravy. If someone says they don’t — they’re probably lying. Not only is gravy delicious, but serving a piping hot gravy allows you to rest your turkey longer so it stays moist. It may get a bit cold after a long rest, so cover it in hot gravy to bring back that warmth!
But gravy requires love, care, and a little technique. The best gravy also requires quality ingredients, because you’re going to get out exactly what you put in. So chuck that packet of powder in the bin, and follow along with Mike’s proven gravy technique. This is a recipe in the sense that improvisational jazz is a composed piece of music. There’s a set of guidelines and expectations you need to follow, but beyond that just have fun and go with your gut!
The liquid & browned bits from the bottom of the turkey roasting pan. Leave then in the pan if can go on the stove.
Stock from your last turkey. Remember that bag of bones at the back of the freezer from Thanksgiving? Bust that out and make stock on Christmas Eve. The stuff from the carton works too, but real stock is so much better.
Flour. How much? Maybe a quarter to half a cup. Gluten-free flour works pretty well too!
Salt, pepper, and any herbs or spices you want. Just don’t go nuts and put in too many.
Heat your stock in a pot. Hot stock will mix with the roux better and make this process easier.
Get your roasting pan going over medium heat, and scrape it thoroughly with a wooden spoon to release all of the turkey goodness. Leave all of the delicious fat in there, it will form our roux.
If your pan can’t go on the stove, pour all of the liquid into a pot, splash a little white wine into the roasting pan, and heat it in the oven for 5 minutes. Scrape the rest of the goodness into the pot.
Add some flour. Don’t go nuts, start with a quarter cup or so. You can always add more. Cook at medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. You want to cook out the flour taste, but also try to brown the roux a little. You want a thick, sludgy texture but not thick enough to patch holes in your wall. If it seems thin, work in a bit more flour.
Throw in a pinch of salt, some pepper, and your seasoning of choice. I find poultry seasoning compliments the turkey well, just don’t go nuts with all kinds of stuff.
Add a ladle-full of hot stock, and whisk it into your roux. Keep cooking and whisking until it thickens up, then add more stock.
Add the stock slowly, stirring and thickening each time before you add another ladle-full.
Once you’ve reached the approximate volume and thickness of gravy that you require, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly. This will help cook out the flour taste and let everything meld together.
While your gravy simmers, boil some water and use it to heat your gravy boat, slash train, slash stein. This will stop your gravy from getting cold and clumpy while you plate up.
At this point, your turkey has been resting a while and likely released some juices. Chuck these into your gravy.
Taste your gravy. How is it? Does it need more salt, pepper, or other flavours? Season appropriately, tasting every time you season. Chuck in a splash of lemon juice or cider vinegar to balance out the richness.
Check your consistency. Dip in your spoon, and have a look. You should be able to see through the gravy, but it shouldn’t all run off the spoon. Drag your finger through it. If your finger leaves a track in the gravy for several seconds, it’s good to go.
If your gravy is too thick, add more stock. If it’s too thin, reduce it more at a gentle simmer, or add a small amount of cornstarch slurry if you’re in a hurry.
Congrats, your gravy is done! Now carve that turkey with your favourite Sujihiki, and enjoy dinner. Happy holidays!