Don’t be alarmed, but Thanksgiving is a mere eight days away. Scary, right? It crept up on us so fast that I totally didn’t see it coming. Now, I am knee deep in grocery lists, recipes and meal plans for the big day. I’ll be sharing my 2011 menu here on Friday, along with a few last minute planning tips. But today I want to share with you a little trick that I came up with to make absolutely foolproof, lump-free, easy, delicious turkey gravy. It’s ridiculously simple and makes the whole gravy making process a cinch. See, for me, making gravy is a tricky and frustrating thing. I’ve tried using my grandfather’s method of mixing a water/flour mixture and whisking that in. I’ve tried using cornstarch. I’ve tried mixing a little flour into hot broth before adding it. But my gravy has seldom been perfect, instead ranging from lumpy (hint: strain lumps out of lumpy gravy to save the day) to jelly-ish (too much cornstarch). Sometimes it’s been under-seasoned and flavorless while other times it’s been too salty or peppery. With this recipe, none of that happens. Basically I’ve taken my method for making homemade macaroni and cheese and applied it to gravy — and it worked like a charm. The smooth, velvety gravy has a rich herbalness with rosemary, thyme and sage cooked into it. It’s a beautiful thing.
To make this absolutely fool proof gravy recipe, you start with a roux (that’s a fancy way of saying a butter/flour mixture). Melt the butter and then add the flour, whisking it together until it’s good and bubbly. This is your thickening agent. By adding it first, you ensure that the flour doesn’t form those dreaded lumps when you go to thicken it. Then, you add turkey stock and whisk it up like crazy to combine the stock and roux. Next, you add herbs for flavor. Just stir them in and let the gravy bubble away for five minutes. Fish out the herbs, season with salt and pepper, and you are there. Really, it couldn’t be easier. Oh, and here’s one more little hack for you: if you don’t have a gravy boat, try using a plain coffee cup like this white mug. It works just as well (and I swear it keeps the gravy warmer for longer too. How are your Thanksgiving plans coming?
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cup turkey stock
- 3 sprigs herbs, 1 each of rosemary, thyme, sage
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Melt the butter in a skillet. Whisk in flour until fully combined. Let cook for 2 minutes, until bubbly and slightly golden.
- Whisk in the turkey stock until fully incorporated into the roux (flour mixture). Drop in the herbs whole and let the gravy bubble away for 5 minutes. Remove the herbs and whisk in salt and pepper, to taste. If desired, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to thicken the gravy a little more.
- Serve immediately.
- Hint: Whisk in two tablespoons of turkey drippings to make the gravy taste more like your bird.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.