Every “gather-round-the-table” celebration is more enjoyable if the tasks are shared between several, and it isn’t all done “just before”. When a turkey is pulled from the oven, and set to rest on its cutting board, there are usually other pots simmering, and people talking & visiting. So here’s a tip.
Make your gravy ahead of time. Any juices from your bird can be set in the fridge for the next day or two, making it easy to remove any fat. Then the juices can be frozen, ready for the next time you want gravy. The only downside to this is that you need to have kept those juices for that time.
Here’s a do-ahead gravy that is started from scratch, using some bits of poultry like wings, neck, or even chopped up legs. You can make as much as you want on a day that you pick.
For this year’s Thanksgiving feast, the turkey, stuffing, and three side dishes will be brought by others, leaving me to do a couple of pies, cranberry sauce, potatoes & gravy. As ours truly is the “home-that-gathers”, I am looking forward to the happy chatter and laughter that I am so very thankful for.
Makes just over 1 litre – enough for 6 servings
2 T butter
2 T oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped or thinly sliced
2 sprigs each of thyme, sage, parsley, & savory
1 t salt
½ t pepper
8 chicken wings (about 1 ½ lbs, or same amount of other bone-in skin-on dark meat)
2 litres chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3 T butter
4 T flour
Salt to taste (depends on stock’s seasoning)
Heat the butter and oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Sauté all for about 5-7 minutes, until onions have turned golden, and herbs are fragrant.
While they’re cooking, bring the stock to a simmer.
Add the bay leaf to the chicken and pour the stock carefully over all.
Reduce the heat to an active simmer, and cover.
Continue simmering for 1 hour.
Strain the stock from the solid contents using a fine sieve, into a large bowl.
Wipe or scrape clean the same skillet that you cooked the chicken & stock in.
Add in all the stock, one ladle full at a time to the roux. Stir each addition until smooth and gently bubbling. (Try not to use any fat that has risen to the top of the stock. You can use a turkey baster to transfer the stock from the bottom of its bowl, there by avoiding using the fat. A fat removing pitcher, where the spout starts from the base of the cup, can also be used. Alternately, you can chill the stock until the next day when the fat is solid and can be removed. Reheat the stock to a simmer and continue on with the recipe.)
Cook at an active simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately if using right away.
For doing ahead of time, cool and store in the fridge for up to one week, covered. Heat over low, stirring occasionally, for half an hour. Turn heat down to maintain a low simmer until serving.
Do ahead even earlier: make the stock, and freeze for up to 6 months, thawing in the fridge before using. Continue by heating the stock, and making the roux, following the recipe.
Note: Once the skin, bones, and cartilage are removed from the chicken pieces, there will be about 1½ c of cooked chicken that can be added to soup, or a pasta sauce. Store covered in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for a couple of months.
For Gluten Free, replace wheat flour with Amaranth flour in the roux.