I have roasted two of the 5 turkeys I raised this year. Of the two I brined one and not the other and not brining is a mistake. Brine your birds and they will be moist and juicy. Because I brine them I don't always want to make gravy from the drippings because sometimes they can be to salty. What I like to do, mostly because I can do it in advance, is make a good chicken stock, or turkey stock, with lots of flavor. You can make this gravy in advance or the day of without the stress of trying to make sure you have enough pan drippings etc etc. Make it easy on yourself, I mean after all you are doing the cooking so that means you get to enjoy it too, right? - thirschfeld —thirschfeld
Test Kitchen Notes
This easy-to-make gravy will save you a lot of time and stress. It can be made a day ahead of the big meal, but doesn't sacrifice taste. Thirschfeld uses a roux for a wonderfully thick, smooth gravy that is full of flavor and dimension. Using a reduced Madeira and a high-quality stock make the most out of this simple recipe. - Stephanie —The Editors
8 two ounce servings
all purpose flour
home made chicken or turkey stock, plus some in case you need to thin the gravy a little
good quality Madeira, something on the dry side
To make the roux heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the butter and once it melts add the flour. Using a wooden spoon stir the flour until it is combined with the butter. It will be the consistency of wet sand. Cook it stirring it constantly until it smells like cooking popcorn and nutty. Remove the roux from the heat and let it cool.
Place another sauce pan over high heat and add the Madeira. Let it boil and burn off the alcohol then reduce it by half. Add the stock, lower the heat to medium and reduce the liquid to 2 cups. Turn the heat to high, add the roux while whisking and bring the the gravy to a boil to thicken then reduce the heat to a simmer. Season, stir and taste. Correct the seasoning if you need to. Simmer for 15 minutes or remove from the heat and reheat before serving.
*if the gravy seems to thick you should thin it with more stock.*