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Roasted Turkey Gravy ... You Can Make it Ahead of Time!

I love to make my Roasted Turkey Gravy a day ahead of a holiday meal... it's one more thing out of the way.. it just reduces stress in the kitchen when preparing the final details of a meal.  I'm not big on making the gravy from giblets... and a few years ago came on a recipe that uses smoked turkey wings... we loved it and it now is a staple in our house when serving roast turkey.
This gravy recipe is also very doable anytime.. not just for holidays... even when making a dinner of hot turkey sandwiches... It's a perfect recipe when you don't have giblets available and want to make a gravy and not use one of those jarred or powdered gravies.
This recipe is very, very easy.... I promise you!  The recipe is slightly altered from Tyler Florence's recipe at the Food Network. 
His gravy is far too thin for our liking so I make mine thicker.  The method I use is a bit different also..  he thickens his gravy by adding the flour in with the vegetables... I thicken it traditionally by first making a roux of butter and flour and slowly adding hot liquid ...  it makes for a smooth gravy. The butter ... in my opinion.. also adds to the overall flavor of the gravy.
He roasts his vegetables with the smoked turkey wing... which I do also... he only uses 1 large or 2 small wings... I usually use about 3 good sized wings... I found the flavor is better with more. 
He uses far more oil than I do... I found it isn't necessary.
And finally... he removes the wings from the pot after roasting and simmers the broth with the vegetables only... I leave one wing in while simmering.. I know it adds a bit more of grease.. but .. again.. I found the flavor a bit bland when I followed his recipe completely.
The original recipe uses fresh herbs... which honestly... is the way to go ... especially for a holiday meal... I do use dried herbs in its place if I have to.. and the gravy comes out fine.  Start with a teaspoon of thyme and 1 teaspoon of sage.. and add more to your taste.
If you do use dried herbs.... add them to the pot right after you add the vegetables... then add the turkey wings... I made the mistake once of adding them after the turkey wings... and not much got on the vegetables... you want the flavor of the herbs infused into the vegetables... since you will be removing most of the wings after you're done roasting them...
If you do think too much of the dried herbs are taken out when you take out the wings.. don't worry.. you can always add more.
Notice a salt quantity isn't listed... you really don't need much.. the smoked wings will add salt to your gravy..  do a taste test at the very end and adjust to your tastes.
When you cut the vegetables... it's a really rough chop... a 5 minute prep time is not an exaggeration.  When you cut your garlic... I just remove a few of the those loose paper thin layers around the garlic. 

I recently found turkey stock in the grocery store... what a great find... it was so difficult to find in previous years... so if you can find it.. (be warned .. it is more expensive than chicken stock)... but if you want to...by all means... use it!
Try this delicious recipe... it is so easy!

Recipe:  Roasted Turkey Gravy
All you need:
About 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pot)
3 good sized smoked turkey wings
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, chopped
1 large rib celery, chopped
1 head garlic, split through the equator
4 stems fresh sage
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 parsley stems
6 cups chicken or turkey stock
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
All you need to do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the vegetables and herbs.. then the turkey wings.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
Place the pot in the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and place on the stove.  Remove two turkey wings, leaving one.  Add the stock to the pot and bring it to a simmer.  Simmer for about 45 minutes or until it is reduced by 1/4.  Strain the gravy and return it to the pot.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then add the flour.  Stir until well mixed and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes to cook off the flour taste. 
Slowly add some of the hot liquid from the cooked chicken stock... whisking vigorously to ensure it remains smooth.  Keep adding more stock until you have about 2 to 3 cups of very thick gravy. 
Add it to the remaining chicken stock and whisk to make sure it is smooth and no lumps.
Add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings to taste.


Cooking Methods for Turkey

Cooking Tip of the Day

There are a number of ways to cook your turkey….

• Roasting
• Grilling
• Rotisserie
• Deep Frying
• Brining

Roasting is the most popular way to cook the turkey… it utilizes an oven … so no special equipment is needed…. and you can stuff the turkey….but depending on the part of the country you’re in, some of these other methods are popular too.

Grilling sounds great provided you have the Charcoal Grill or Gas Grill to accomadate that size piece of meat…. and you’re not waste deep in snow (ode to Colorado).

Rotisserie is the method of cooking used when you cook and brown your turkey evely as it rotates over the heat source. This method works best with turkeys that are 12 pounds or less. You don’t stuff the turkey… you cook the stuffing separately in a casserole dish in the oven. You also need a rotisserie oven.

Deep frying turkey is very popular here in the south, a lot of people deep fry their turkeys in large deep fryers…. this time of year you see lots of displays in grocery stores with large containers of peanut oil …. (Imma Yankee… and well… we roast our turkeys…. )… this method requires a large deep fryer …either an outdoor propane fryer or an indoor electric fryer. You can’t stuff the turkey with this method… you need to cook it separately in the oven. It is recommended that you fry turkeys that are 14 pounds or less. … turkeys over 15 pounds… you need to separate the legs and thighs and fry them separately.

Brining is taking a raw turkey and soaking it in salted water for a number of hours while refrigerated to help it retain moisture during the cooking process. For this you need a fresh, non-basted turkey. Brining is ineffective on frozen turkeys and may interfere with the flavor of basted or kosher turkeys... it is also important to take the wrapper off and take out the insides (giblets etc) (you'd be surprised how many people forget to do that!).

So when choosing a cooking method… you need to consider:

• Special equipment you may need
• The limitations of the size of the turkey
• Whether or not you want to stuff the turkey
• Personal taste and preference

You can go to the Butterball website to get step by step instructions for cooking turkeys for each of these methods.

Deep Frying

Picture from William Sonoma Willie Bird Pre-Brined Fresh Turkey


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