You deserve a Thanksgiving classic you can make without a recipe (and we're talking more than mash) -- one you can make with your eyes closed and with one hand tied behind your back. Listen up, people: This year we're winging gravy.
(The best part of all of this? Contrary to what Thanksgiving legend says, your gravy can be made ahead of time -- up to 4 or 5 days. Just make good on your turkey drippings by whisking them in right before you serve.)
How to Make Gravy Without a Recipe
1. If you're making your gravy ahead of time, skip to step 2 -- you'll do step 1 on Thanksgiving day, immediately before serving. If you're doing this whole thing last minute like a ninja, place your roasting vessel on the stove, and deglaze with a healthy splash of wine, or stock, or -- in a pinch -- water. Add aromatics like rosemary for fun. Remove from the heat and strain.
2. Make a roux. As you have previously learned, this will be the magic that thickens your gravy. Here's how it works: Melt butter, whisk in flour, cook until it's a nice, golden brown. If you're doing this on the day of while the bird rests, feel free to use some of the fat from the drippings as a base for your roux. All in all, for ten to twelve people, go with 1 stick of butter (or a half cup of fat) and a half cup of flour to 4 or 5 cups stock. If you have a cozier Thanksgiving planned, halve that.
3. When your roux is where you want it to be, whisk in the deliciousness you made in step 1. (If you're doing this in advance, just use that amazing homemade turkey stock we know you have on hand.) You want your heat around medium-low here, and adjust as necessary.
4. Keep adding your warm, remaining liquid, and keep whisking -- hard. Remember your Aunt's lumpy gravy? Yeah, you don't want that.
5. Simmer your gravy over medium heat until it's thickened to your liking. At this point, it's very forgiving: Just add more liquid at will if you over-thicken. When it's right where you want it, season. We like to keep it simple with salt and pepper, but have also been known to whisk in a bit of soy sauce. You do you.
If you're making this ahead, let it cool before storing in the fridge, with plastic wrap snuggled against its surface, just like it'd be for pesto.
Have any gravy secrets we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.