This story first appeared on the original A Cook and Her Books November 24, 2010. I still use this recipe every Thanksgiving and for the special occasions that call for gravy.
For some reason, the original photo with my gravy boat was widely borrowed, some might say stolen, across the web. One vegan blogger ran it with a gosh-awful-sounding vegan gravy recipe. I left a comment saying the image wasn’t theirs to use and that the gravy was most certainly not vegan. I don’t have time to track down photo thieves these days. Live well, be well and make gravy, I say.
How to Make Gravy
Good gravy is a godsend, whether you need it to dress the bird, the dressing or the mashed potatoes, having homemade gravy on the Thanksgiving table pretty much separates the real cooks from the duffers.
There’s no particular magic to gravy, just attention to ingredients and proper stirring to eliminate lumps will carry a novice through. And here’s the recipe that I’ve used for years – it’s based on canned chicken broth, but substitute homemade turkey or chicken or even vegetable broth as you wish.
For the Thanksgiving feast, combine the gravy with some of the pan drippings from the bird for a truly spectacular gravy (if the bird has been brined, add drippings judiciously, the salt can quickly overwhelm the sauce).
Poultry Gravy Recipe
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 (32 oz) package low-salt chicken broth, or 4 cups homemade chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Then add the vegetables, all roughly chopped, and let brown, stirring occasionally. Pour chicken broth into a microwavable container and zap for 1 minute.
2. Stir the vegetables until they are nice and caramel-colored, about 10 minutes, then add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Stir this into the vegetables for an additional 5 minutes or so. Then gradually add 4 cups of warm broth. Strain the broth through a sieve, discarding the solids. Season to taste. You can cool and store the gravy in the fridge for a day or so, or place in the freezer until Thanksgiving Day.
3. On Turkey Day, stand by the stove, lovingly stirring the gravy, adjusting the seasoning and admiring your kitchen skills. Homemade gravy without lumps, and not requiring a packet or a pocket or a jar.
This gravy recipe is an essential part of my Thanksgiving feast. While it can easily be made the day of the feast, I try to get a head start by making homemade broth in the Instant Pot, refrigerating overnight and skimming off the fat. The next day, I’ll make the gravy, strain it and freeze it.
On Thanksgiving Day, I’ll warm the gravy on the stovetop and stir in turkey small amounts of turkey drippings. (My brined turkey throws off super-salty drippings; I add drippings judiciously.)