5 Ingredients or Fewer

Madeira Gravy

November  1, 2010
5 Ratings
  • Serves 8 two ounce servings
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 quart home made chicken or turkey stock, plus some in case you need to thin the gravy a little
  • 1 cup good quality Madeira, something on the dry side
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. *if the gravy seems to thick you should thin it with more stock.*
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sauertea
  • AntoniaJames
  • RaquelG
  • Queen of Spoons
    Queen of Spoons
  • wanderash

20 Reviews

Sauertea November 22, 2018
Delicious! So easy and amazingly flavorful !
AntoniaJames November 26, 2010
Made this today -- as part of my first all-food52 T-Day menu -- and served it with my spatchcocked bird. It's delicious! Having decided that spatchcocking was the way to go, given my somewhat unusual schedule today, I took the back out of the turkey night before last and roasted it with the neck to make the stock. Am certain the leftover gravy will make the most elegant gravy bread (in this case, my icebox oatmeal rolls with hot gravy over them) that we've seen around here in a long time, if not ever. ;o)
RaquelG November 15, 2010
Fab recipe; this is how my grandmother and mother (both born and bred in Spain) make their poultry gravies and sauces. A drop of Madeira, Sherry or Marsala are essential to a well-rounded gravy!!!
thirschfeld November 15, 2010
thank you RaquelG
Queen O. November 4, 2010
Will be trying this (and trying to locate that toasted sage brine recipe)!

@MyCommunalTable - Port is also fortified wine, but a slightly different process, as well as local of origin. Decent page in Wikipedia with links to more detail on each: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortified_wine
thirschfeld November 15, 2010
did you find the sage brine recipe?
wanderash November 4, 2010
Two turkeys already! What are you going to eat on Thanksgiving? I guess turkey isn't just for thanksgiving anymore :) The Maderia gravy sounds fab.
thirschfeld November 4, 2010
Some breeds are very small, so the first two were 6 and 9 lb hens. About the same size as a large roaster
MyCommunalTable November 3, 2010
I make Madeira Gravy often. City Tavern in Philly is believed to be the oldest restaurant in America. They cook a lot of original recipes from Thomas Jefferson time. They make Madeira gravy with turkey almost everyday. I use the cookbook from City Tavern often in the cooler months. I have also realized that there is a big differences in Madeira wines. I prefer the medium dry ones that are a clear amber in color.
thirschfeld November 3, 2010
I think Madeira, Marsala and Sherry are some of the most undervalued fortified wines there are. You can get really great Madeira, often, at low prices. What I like about the recipe is the butter in the roux adds another dimension to the gravy. I make a jus that has a whole bottle of sherry, along with 25 or so bay leaves and reduce it to a syrup it is a riff on a Charlie Trotter recipe but my point is Madeira would work in the jus as well. I like to cook with all three of these wines.
MyCommunalTable November 3, 2010
Agreed! Love cooking with them all. Hey, is Port fortified wine as well? This gravy recipe sound great. I forgot to say that. I just made my stock to freeze for Thanksgiving myself. Everyone will sopping up the gravy with this recipe.
cheese1227 November 5, 2010
Port is my favorite mood altering elixir! But I think I would much prefer Madiera ladeled over my turkey. Great recipe!
drbabs November 2, 2010
I love wine in gravy--I bet this is delicious.
ashleychasesdinner November 1, 2010
What a beautiful picture!!
thirschfeld November 1, 2010
thanks ashley_samuel_pierson
dymnyno November 1, 2010
What kind of turkey is in the pic? It looks like a very lean leg. I am always looking for ways to cook wild turkey...we have a huge populations of the grape eating varmints!
thirschfeld November 1, 2010
That is a 6 lb chocolate a rare heritage breed. I ended up with three breeds. Royal Palm, chocolate and bronze. The Royals and chocolates are lean. I used a recipe from Saveur magazine from a few years ago for a toasted sage brine which really keeps them moist and tasty. I tried a second bird without the brine and it was much drier. I always brine turkeys but since this was the first year raising them I decided to try one without and I won't do that again. I wrapped a couple of pieces of pancetta around the legs for extra flavor and fat. Funny because the turkeys wouldn't touch the grapes, I only have 4 vines, but the chickens will clean them it they get to them.
dymnyno November 1, 2010
Wild Napa Valley turkeys have very discerning palates...they know a great cabernet when they taste one!
cheese1227 November 5, 2010
I am doing an article on local turkeys -- like every food writer around this time of year I would imagine -- and talked with a heritage bird farmer yesterday that said you really should pull the bird out of the oven at about 145 degrees to prevent it being dry. When I asked about the 165 degree requirement I've always adhered to for poultry, she said that was only a "commercial bird stipulation". Do you have any thoughts on that, Tom?
thirschfeld November 5, 2010
Have you ever tried to feed someone a piece of chicken or turkey that is medium at best in the thighs and the plate is collecting very red juices? People will be uncomfortable with it at best and most will microwave their plate of food. I am not bothered by it because I know how the birds were raised but I have become a firm believer in brining. Like I said, I raised five turkeys this year and we had all sizes. While I don't think the Bronzes meet the heritage standards they are a good mix of both, I believe, and as far as I am concerned the best turkey I have ever eaten and it was a 33 lb bird. The Chocolate and the Royal Palm were very lean and much smaller, the size of a roasting chicken. We brined one and not the other. The brined bird was much more succulent. All three had great flavor way beyond any turkey I have had in the past. I would also say I did not let them free range. They were in a pen with lots of room and were well fed with garden scrapes and high quality vegetarian feed. I have found true free range birds to be to tough for my liking. The other reality is when you only raise a few birds and you have coyotes you can't afford to let them run free while if you have a huge flock you may be able to spare some turkeys, in the end one of my dogs decided he liked turkey and we lost two to him. If you look at the price of a heritage breed bird at $125 dollars for a 15 lb or so bird it really isn't that outrageous when you know the cost of feed and the longer growing times of these birds.