Turkey Day Tutorials: The Gravy

November 20, 2012

We're almost there folks! Thanksgiving is just a few days away and we want to help you minimize the worry and maximize the flavor. One of the key elements of most holiday meals is the gravy, and while relatively simple to make, there's always the risk of LUMPS! So check out this collection of gravy how-to videos that range from simple to more advanced and make a nice smooth sauce to drench your turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes.

 Thanksgiving Giblet Gravy

Partial Video Transcript

I think at this point what we are going to do is we are going to start to work on the caramelization of chicken bones and the necks and so forth to make the sauce. I am going to dice this onion because it is going to be the basis for the sauce. There is a foundation in sauce making. After I slice, I want to hold that [end of onion]. We want to dice this so I am going to take the knife and start from one end, bring it back [horizontally]. Now we will dice, holding it with all fingers.

So you start with carrots, onion, celery, like we discussed before. Now the difference between this, when you caramelize, this is round on this side, but this is where you are actually going to caramelize [flat side of cut carrot], but if you really want to extract more flavor from the actual vegetable then you will cut it like this in a brunoise, quarter by a quarter by a quarter by a quarter [square]. You have caramelization on each point therefore extracting more flavor, therefore a stronger foundation, which in the end is a better tasting sauce.
So we got the pot nice and hot. It has already been on. Now I'm going to add the veggies. Lets talk about bones because again, the bones are really what is going to determine the flavor. We are going to extract flavor out of this, there is meat on here, but in that bone, the bones have gelatin and the gelatin is what is going to give it a lot of flavor and kick. Kidneys, the heart, and then the liver will actually give some nice color.

We have them on high heat and we are going to slowly caramelize the vegetables up. Now we are going to add this to it [bones/organs]. You can already smell that gravy coming together.
We want to get some nice color. By getting color, that determines and dictates the color of the sauce and what color is gravy? It is dark brown. There are some that are lighter in color, but I like my dark brown gravy.

We are going to caramelize all of this up to get really really nice flavor from it. When you have a pot that is full like this you want to create heaps of smoke, and let steam escape otherwise it will sit down there and it won't cook evenly, a little smoke will come out. This is coming along good. See the bottom, the caramelization, that is what we want, that is what we are going for. Then when I hit it with the red wine that will all come out and that is called fond, F-O-N-D, the fond are the particles at the bottom of the pot. We take this wine and we are going to deglaze. This process is called deglazing.

How To Make Gravy, a Quick and Easy Recipe

Partial Video Transcript

This is an easy gravy recipe. Start by melting a half stick of butter. Make sure the heat is on medium and add three spoonfuls of flour. Stir that together to make sort of a paste. Try to smash out any lumps. Then get one cup of chicken broth, slowly add it, stirring all the while. Let that thicken up a little bit.

While this is heating up we are going to go over to our turkey and spoon out almost a cup full of drippings. Try not to get any of the fat, try to get just as much of the juice as possible.
There that is getting nice and thick. We are going to slowly add the turkey drippings, stir that around. If you have a couple of chunks, don't worry about that, you can spoon them out later.
Then finally we are going to add one spoonful of soy sauce. This gives it a little extra flavor and darkens it up. Let that simmer, stirring a little bit till it gets to the right thickness.

Four Steps to Perfect Gravy

Partial Video Transcript

Hi, this is Hosea Rosenberg. I am here with Whole Foods Market and we are going to give you a quick tip for making gravy for the holidays.

The first thing you need is your butter to make some rue. We are going to throw the butter in a warm pan. We are going to let that melt and once it melts we are going to add some flour. Now that the butter is melted I am going to add flour and you are going to stir this. You stir this over low to medium heat until you form a paste, this paste is called a rue. You want to cook this out for a couple of minutes to cook out some of the raw flour taste. You will notice a buttery kind of nutty flavor coming off of it as it starts to get good. If you want a dark gravy you can cook the rue down to a much darker color. Basically whatever color you get your rue to, it is going to transfer that over to your gravy.

Now that the rue is ready I am going to whisk in some warmed up chicken broth, low sodium and you want to whisk this in slowly. Make sure it all gets incorporated and you don't have any lumps.
We are going to bring this up to a boil. We are going to let it simmer for a little while and this is what we call a valuta. It is basically thickened stock with rue and this is something you can make ahead of time. So if you have a lot to do on Turkey Day go ahead and make this a day or two ahead of time and keep it in your refrigerator and when you are ready to make your gravy pull it out and just reheat it.
We are going to let this come up to a boil, stirring the whole time and you are going to let it simmer for about a minute of two to let the rue activate and thicken up the sauce. So at this point we can either stop, or move on to making the finished gravy.

Alright, now it is time to make the finished gravy. We are going to take this roasting pan, I just put it over a high heat. We are going to let the juices come to a boil then we are going to have to glaze with some white wine. What we are going to do here is we are going to let this wine release all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. We are going to cook this out. You want to cook all the alcohol out of this. You want to let it come to a strong boil and cook it out for about five minutes.

You can hear it sizzling away, scraping away at all those brown bits. That is all the goodness right there. That is all the flavor we are looking for. Once you feel that you have gotten all the solids scraped off the bottom of the pan, you are going to whisk in your valuta. And this you can just kind of pour in there. We are going to get this all incorporated together.

We are going to season this with a little bit of salt and pepper. Make sure you start out with just a little bit of salt because you did season your turkey already with salt and these drippings could already have a fair amount of sodium. You want to always taste it as you go. You can always add more salt, but you can't take it away. The last thing I like to do is add some fresh herbs. This just really brightens the gravy and gives it a really nice fresh flavor. Now the gravy is done.

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