Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Best Make Ahead Gravy

Gravy traumatizes me. I can handle the bird, the sides, and the desserts just fine. But gravy? I break down. The thought of having to whip something up after cooking all day (and when it's finally time to celebrate the cooked bird with a glass of champagne) literally gives me nightmares. So rather than go to therapy, I make my gravy ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. On the big day (even at the last minute) you just heat it up over a low/medium flame, adding a little more stock to loosen it.

Easy peasy, even while holding a glass of champagne:)

The Best Make Ahead Gravy
* Adapted from Southern Living
* Yields 2 cups; can be easily doubled

2 turkey necks (you can buy them during the holidays in the meat section)
salt and pepper, for seasoning turkey necks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 fresh thyme sprig
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 teaspoon dried (rubbed) sage
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Add the oil to a medium dutch oven with a lid and put on medium/high heat to let heat through.

Season the necks lightly with salt and pepper. Once hot, add to the pan and brown on all sides. Don't rush this step - that caramelization makes the gravy. Add the onion, celery and bay leaf and saute for five minutes until softened (resist the urge to season with salt - you don't want too much salt early on or you'll have a salt block later.) Stir in the broth, parsley and thyme.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes (I like to leave the lid 3/4 on during this time.)

Remove from the heat and let cool down a couple minutes, then put the mixture through a wire mesh strainer, using the back of a wooden spoon to press as much through as possible. Discard leftover solids and set stock to the side.

Now melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium/low heat. Slowly whisk in the flour (and please use a whisk - it helps to incorporate it and reduce lumps.) Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is golden. Gradually whisk in the stock you made before, which is ideally still a little warm. Add in wine and sage and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally 5-10 minutes or until thickened (it will continue to thicken when chilled.)

Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

1 comment:

Bridgett said...

I always just say to my husband - Can't you just do without the gravy? Never seems to go over, but I love your make ahead idea. I will be trying that next time.