Cast Iron

Gravy With Bacon and Tamari

November 15, 2017
5 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes 2 cups
Author Notes

My secret to flavorful gravy is starting with a base of bacon. Put a few slices in a pan and let it render low and slow until the bacon is crispy, the fat has all melted out, and those toasty, tasty clumps start to gather at the bottom of the pan. (Bonus: You’ve got yourself some crispy bacon for tomorrow’s sandwich...or right now's snack.) Briny tamari gives this gravy that special oomph of flavor that turkey drippings would normally add. Not to mention, a few splashes make your gravy the perfect shade of brown. Anytime I'm making a dish ahead of time, I add in some fresh herbs just before serving to awaken the flavor and give it that "I just made this" look.

Featured In: Turn Gravy Up a Notch With a Touch of Umami (And No Pan Drippings)Grant Melton

What You'll Need
  • 3-4 slices of bacon (about 4 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 leaves of sage
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups turkey stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
  • Chives or parsley, for serving
  1. Place the strips of bacon into a cold cast-iron skillet. Turn the heat to medium and let the bacon cook low and slow to render. When the bacon begins to sizzle and brown on the edges, give it a flip and let it cook until crisp on the other side. Once the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered out, remove the bacon from the pan. You should be left with a few tablespoons of bacon fat and some crispy brown bacon bits in the bottom of the pan.
  2. Keeping the pan at a medium heat, add in the butter to the bacon fat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and all of the whole herbs. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, to flavor the fat with the aromatics. Once the mixture becomes super fragrant and just before the garlic begins to brown, remove the herbs and garlic while leaving the aromatic fat in the pan. It’s ok if some herbs leaves are left behind.
  3. Add the onion and cook for another 5 minutes until super soft. Turn up the heat and add the flour to make a roux, and cook for a few minutes, stirring often. When the flour is just beginning to brown, using a whisk, slowly add the turkey stock into the pan. Stir in the tamari, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat and bring the gravy to a low simmer and cook until desired thickness. If you’d like richer gravy, add in the heavy cream. If you’d like a smooth gravy (no onion pieces), you can blend the gravy in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, stir in some freshly chopped chives, parsley or a mixture of the two.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jeannie'sgoodhomecooking
  • Jennifer Spitler
    Jennifer Spitler
  • Grant Melton
    Grant Melton
  • don

6 Reviews

don November 29, 2019
I made this, but ran out of time to cook the bacon and wound us using the turkey drippings instead. Still delicious. The herbs really gave it a nice dose of savory. I thought the Tamari might be too much, but it was quite nice.
I made this again, for Christmas dinner. It’s so good! My go-to for sure. Thank you again for a great recipe.
Jennifer S. December 17, 2017
Every year that I have hosted thanksgiving, I kinda guess some kind of gravy together very last minute that never really turns out that great. Since I was hosting a big group this year, I didn't want to make that mistake again. I wanted something I could make ahead of time. It is delicious! During dinner, most people were surprised that tamari was in the gravy. It was certainly something I'll make again!
Grant M. December 19, 2017
So glad that you enjoyed the recipe!
Jeannie'sgoodhomecooking December 11, 2017
I made this on the weekend, roasted a do a test run before Christmas dinner. It was wonderful! Even more wonderful when I added the drippings from the bird to the gravy. You would never know, and everyone loved it. This is going to make Xmas turkey a little easier from now on, thank you!!
Grant M. December 19, 2017
You're very welcome! Happy Holidays!