Saturday, November 17, 2012

Perfect Turkey Gravy

I love the Thanksgiving holiday. Nothing makes me happier than a couple of days of cooking and celebrating that terrific meal with family. What's my favorite part? Roast turkey?  Hot Italian sausage stuffing? Mashed potatoes? Turley Zinfandel?

Actually, it's all of the above. But the crowning glory is always the turkey gravy that gets lovingly ladled over the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. But it must be made from scratch. There is no more heinous crime or assault to the tastebuds  than store-bought gravy.

It's ridiculously easy to make great turkey gravy. I'm going to tell you how with Alton Brown's timeless recipe. It's made even easier if you have what is known as fat separator or degreasing cup. This handy little device has a spout on the bottom. The fat rises and the juices stay near the bottom. It looks like this:

Don't sweat it if you don't have one. Simply pour the drippings into a glass measuring cup, let it sit for a few minutes, then spoon out the fat. The other tool you will need is a whisk. Vigorous whisking as you add the broth will keep your gravy lump free.

Roasted turkey drippings
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup red wine (use a good Cabernet)
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

  1. Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and set aside to rest. Leave the drippings from the turkey in the pan and place the roasting pan over medium heat. Add the broth and wine at the same time. Whisk to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan until all of the bits have come loose. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes in order to reduce the mixture slightly.
  2. Transfer the liquid to a fat separator and let sit for 5 minutes to allow fat to separate.
  3. Return 3/4 cup of the fat to the roasting pan and place over medium-high heat. Discard any remaining fat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture starts to thicken and become smooth, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. 
  4. Once this happens, gradually add the liquid back to the pan and whisk until smooth and you have reached your desired consistency, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Remember, your gravy should be slightly thin in the pan as it will thicken once you serve it. Add the herbs and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Wine pairing: I always serve Zinfandel at Thanksgiving. A big and bold fruit-foward wine, it goes great with all of the flavors of the Thanksgiving meal. For a special treat, see if you can score a Turley Zinfandel...truly a nectar from the gods.