Make-Ahead Gravy

Make Ahead Gravy

There’s a reason I’m making this gravy ahead of time and it’s called survival.  There are too many last minute details prior to getting Thanksgiving on the table and I’m delighted to be able to cross gravy off the list.

I purchased turkey wings and roasted them in the oven to make an authentic stock.

I plan to stir the turkey drippings into the gravy at the last minute. If you’ve got a tablespoon or more of bacon drippings at the ready, by all means, add them to the gravy too. (Unlike my husband, on Thanksgiving I could care less about caloric intake. ) I’ve another 3-day in advance gravy, which includes mushrooms, if you’re so inclined.

TIME SAVERS: Substitute a good brand of lightly seasoned turkey stock for the homemade; Kitchen Basics brand would be my choice. The ingredients list does not contain MSG or other funky stuff so this would be a very good substitute if you don’t have the time to make your own. Trader Joe’s also carries a “Mirepoix” container, which includes finely chopped celery, onion an carrot – another time-saver if you’ve a TJ’s in your area.

Recipe: Make Ahead Gravy


  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 rib celery, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 small onion or two leeks, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) turkey, chicken or beef stock (or combination)*
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • Pan drippings from turkey


  1. In food processor, pulse carrot until chopped into small pieces, a fine dice, but not puréed. Remove and reserve. Repeat the process with celery and onions or leeks (see above time-saving notes).
  2. Heat 1/4 cup butter in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add vegetables and sauté with a pinch of kosher salt, stirring frequently until softened and gently browned and slightly caramelized. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Gradually add chicken or beef stock, whisking or stirring to insure there will be no lumps. Bring to boil, removing any small burnt bits that may form on pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and add bay leaf, rosemary and peppercorns. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened and reduced to 3-4 cups,  20-30 minutes.
  4. Strain gravy through fine-mesh strainer into sauce pan, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. (Recipe may be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered, at this point. It may also be frozen up to 4 weeks in advance.)
  5. Reheat gravy, if refrigerated, whisk in turkey pan juices and serve.

*Turkey wings are available at most groceries well in advance of Thanksgiving. You may prefer to make homemade stock for the gravy. If so, roast 4 turkey wings in a 400˚ oven with onions on top 60 to 90 minutes until golden brown. Place in stock pot with dripping and add at least 6 cups of water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Strain before using as stock.

Active Time (if using purchased stock): 40 minutes

Simmer Time: 30 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 3-4 cups

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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