Thanksgiving is almost upon us, it gets so hectic when you are trying to prepare a Thanksgiving feast. If you are like me it gets most frantic when the turkey comes out of the oven and it's time to let the bird rest so you can get on with making the gravy. That's usually about the time when my two teenage grandsons walk in the door and tell me right away that they are starved. The moment it's said I can feel my neck tightening and everything in my body begins to hurt. Welllllllll, I have a solution, a Make Ahead Gravy. I must tell you it is absolutely delicious and the smoked turkey wings are a key element to this amazing flavor. This is but one minor solution to a busy Thanksgiving but it feels so nice to be able to pull out your already prepared gravy and just warm it. One less thing that you have to do when everyone is piling in your kitchen, it becomes chaos if it's anything like my house.
We begin with smoked turkey wings and necks, yes you read that right and just so you know, they make the BEST basis for your gravy. They are now readily available at most grocery stores. Placed in a large roasting pan with some halved garlic (no need to peel the whole bulb just cut it in half), a medium onion cut in pieces and several stalks of celery then roasted on one side for 45 minutes, then turned to roast on the other side for another 45 minutes. An easy process but time consuming.
Then you add in your chicken stock and roast for another hour. Take them out of the oven and let them cool and then it's time to make the gravy. Remove all the turkey wings, vegetables and then pour through a sieve into a large container. You will have about 5 to 8 cups of strained stock.
Begin your gravy with the unsalted butter and then add in the flour. It's only necessary to cook the flour for a couple of minutes but I like to cook the flour to a medium brown. It will have more flavor and it will also make your gravy a little darker.
Stir it constantly with a wire whisk so no lumps appear and I like mine to get to a medium brown.
Make Ahead Gravy
This can be prepared 2 or 3 days ahead. Just reheat it in a saucepan over medium. The turkey stock can be made, cooled and frozen for up to 6 months.
For the stock:
2 T olive oil
6 lb. turkey wings and necks
5 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 head garlic, halved
Add: 12 cups chicken broth
For the gravy:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup AP flour
8 cups turkey stock
1 T apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Sauté the turkey wings and necks, onion, celery and garlic in a roasting pan on top of the stove in the olive oil over medium high heat until beginning to brown. Transfer to the oven, roast 45 minutes, then turn the wings and necks over and roast an additional 45 minutes.
Add broth to the pan and cook in the oven for 1 hour, or until reduced to 8 cups. Strain stock and set aside.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Gradually add strained stock, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil, simmer 2 minutes to thicken, then reduce heat to medium low; simmer 10 minutes. Finish with vinegar, salt and pepper.
You won't be disappointed with this gravy and when you warm it up you could add in a little tied bundle of sage, parsley and thyme and even a splash of cognac. Frankly I like it as is, it is delicious. I also need to add that this is not an original recipe of my own. I happen to be on a food message board with some of the greatest cooks from all over this country. I am privileged to have available to me these wonderful recipes and this one just happens to come from one of the members who consistently shares excellent recipes. Lucky me right?
I hope you'll try this little time saver, anything helps when you have a crowd for a Thanksgiving meal.