Make Ahead Stress Free Thanksgiving Turkey Gravy

make ahead turkey gravy

Does the thought of making turkey gravy at the last minute stress you out while your guests are eagerly awaiting to eat? Years ago that was the part of Thanksgiving dinner that really stressed me out, gathering up all the drippings, maneuvering big pans, trying to skim off the fat of the drippings so it looked presentable in the gravy bowl.

Well have no fear, this is the solution, make ahead turkey gravy. You can make it days before and on Thanksgiving day just heat it up, no more fussing with the drippings trying to make a nice non lumpy, fat free gravy.turkey

Here’s how you do it!

Buy some turkey parts, they should be readily available around this time of year, a package of turkey wings or turkey legs, you don’t need much.

Here I used a combination of two wings and two drumsticks and placed them into a baking dish with aromatics, as shown above. Add in some herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and a little broth on the bottom, just a little.roasted turkey

Roast the turkey parts in the oven uncovered for around 1- 1 1/2 hours or until nicely golden brown, the house will start smelling good.turkey broth

Then take every bit of the turkey, the bones, the veggies, herbs and all the bits on the bottom of the pan that you scraped up and put them into a stock pot with enough broth to cover. I used turkey stock but chicken would be fine as well.

Simmer slowly for a couple of hours, you’ll see the turkey fall off the bones and the veggies super soft, then let it cool down.

Get yourself a nice mesh strainer, place it over a large bowl and ladle all that goodness into the strainer, turkey, veggies and all. Let all the juices drip through the strainer, helping the process by smashing down with the back of a spoon, you’ll  be surprised how much juice comes out of the vegetables and turkey.turkey drippings

Place your throughly strained drippings and broth into containers, then refrigerate it overnight.

By refrigerating it overnight you’ll be able to skim off all that fat that rises to the top ensuring a rich and fatty free velvety gravy.turkey gravy

 

Then it’s time to actually make the gravy that you’ll be serving to your guests and adorning your turkey, stuffing and potatoes with. Once you whisk it all up and it’s completely finished, cool it down and place into containers.

If it’s just a few days before Thanksgiving, refrigerate it, if a week or more before you can freeze it, taking it out the day before Thanksgiving to defrost, remember now your delicious turkey gravy is completely finished.turkey gravy

Then the best part is while your turkey is resting or being sliced you’ll have your beautiful gravy finished to perfection warming up on the stove!turkey gravy

No lumps, not fat rising to the top, no stress, just rich and wonderful turkey gravy, plenty for that day and for leftovers.turkey gravy

And lets face it there can never be enough gravy!

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Make Ahead Stress Free Thanksgiving Turkey Gravy
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • turkey parts, wings, legs or a combo of both
  • aromatics, garlic, carrot, onion, celery, sage, thyme
  • 3 boxes of turkey stock or chicken, low sodium
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR THE GRAVY:
  • one half cup plus probably a couple more tablespoons ( see instructions) of Wondra brand, quick mixing flour if you can find it, if not, regular all purpose flour would be fine also
  • 1 stick butter, unsalted
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of Gravy Master it's should be found in the spice aisle. (it's optional really, you don't need it but I grew up with this, it gives the gravy a richer deeper color)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375.F place turkey parts int a baking dish, not too deep, salt and pepper the parts and add aromatics like garlic, celery, onion and herbs.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and pour a little broth in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Roast for maybe 1- 1½ hours or until nicely golden brown.
  4. Transfer everything into a stock pot, all the veggies, turkey and every bit of those drippings.
  5. Add enough stock to cover the parts, I added 2 boxes of turkey stock, but you can also use a mix with water or chicken stock. Don't drown it just cover it, add in some salt and pepper.
  6. Let it simmer slowly for around two hours partially covered, you'll see the meat fall off all the bones and the veggies will be super soft and fall apart.
  7. Let it cool down a bit then take a mesh strainer over a large bowl and throughly strain all the turkey and veggie contents, pressing down with the back of a spoon to help get all those tasty drippings into the bowl, take your time and let it all drip down.
  8. Pick on, feed to a dog or discard those solids that are left.
  9. Place strained broth/drippings into containers and refrigerate overnight so the fat can rise to the top.
  10. MAKING THE GRAVY;
  11. Skim the fat off the top of your broth before starting to make your gravy.
  12. You'll need two saucepans, one to warm up your broth so it's not ice cold then a separate one you place the stick of butter into to melt.
  13. When butter is melted whisk in ½ cup of flour, and keep whisking until it's nice and golden about a minute or two, then pour the warm broth in and keep whisking until its thickened to your liking. I ended up putting 2 additional heaping tablespoons of flour into mine. In a separate small bowl I placed the additional flour and enough water to make a non lumpy consistency then poured and whisked it into my gravy mixture to make it thicker which I needed.
  14. Taste for additional salt and peeper if needed.
  15. At this point you can refrigerate the gravy into a container in the fridge a few days before Thanksgiving or just freeze it and take it out to defrost the day before Thanksgiving, either way just heat up and serve while the turkey is resting and being sliced. The fuss and mess will be done ahead of time for you and you'll will be stress free at the crucial time before eating on the big day.
  16. NOTE;
  17. I ended up with 2 full quarts of gravy, which is more than enough and don't forget you could still save the drippings in the pan on Thanksgiving Day and make additional the next day or add to what you have left.
  18. Refer to my post for pictures, how many turkey parts I used and the amount of broth to achieve this.

 

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Foolproof Grilled Turkey Breast with Butter and Herbs

grilled turkey breasts

Years ago we started adding a whole grilled turkey breast along with a whole roasted turkey on Thanksgiving. I have a nice size group with my brother and sister in law, their family and ours, but as time went on we started to realize everyone likes to eat only the white meat. When it came to leftovers for everyone to take home there would hardly be any white meat left, and no one wanted the dark.

So now we have it down to a science, three whole turkey breasts on the grill. For our family it works, the flavor is amazing, everyone loves it and there are plenty of leftovers for everyone, who by the way, always enter my home with to-go containers. Another big bonus to grilling turkey breast is that my oven is freed up for all the delicious sides.

Now this concept might not work for every family. I’ll be the first to admit that a traditional whole roasted turkey looks beautiful when pulled from the oven on Thanksgiving day and I know there are many dark meat lovers out there who look forward to it, but you might want to consider making an extra turkey breast just for leftovers to pass out.

Grilling a whole turkey breast is also great for a smaller group or if you just have a taste for turkey on the grill though out the year. It’s slathered with a garlic herbed butter, it’s so moist and juicy, never drys out and the grilled flavor takes it over the top, what’s not to like?

 

butter and herbs

Just like the song my herbs of choice are parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and of course butter and garlic.foil pans

I buy the deep foil pans like the one on the right, the one on the left is too shallow, and I like to double them for extra stability.turkey breasts

I mix a compound butter with the herbs and garlic but then I like to half melt the already room temperature butter so it’s really soft and I can easily brush it over and under the skin.

grilled turkey breasts

The breasts get propped up in the pan by a ball of heavy duty tin foil that I form and position it underneath the cavity, otherwise the breast will not be stable and fall over. They don’t take long to cook at all, I think max is an hour and fifteen minutes for a six to seven pound breast and you can rest it for an hour tented with foil when its off the grill and it will still be hot.electric knife slice

We love, love, love to use an electric knife, it cuts the turkey like butter. Walk into any thrift store and you’ll find a bunch of them, they were very popular back in the day, not much any more but we use ours every Thanksgiving.sliced turkey breast

This is pure deliciousness and it looks pretty fanned out on your platter!Grilled turkey breast

If you’re wondering about gravy, well I make it a week ahead of time with some turkey wings that I pick up and roast, there are many recipes you can find on the web for make ahead gravy. I love making the gravy ahead of time, no stress, worrying and rushing around to make gravy at the last minute, just heat up and go. There will be drippings in the foil pan which I save or add to my already made gravy or to make more the next day.Thanksgiving

The food most definitely plays a staring role on Thanksgiving Day, but family is really what it’s all about!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Foolproof Grilled Turkey Breast with Butter and Herbs
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 6-7 lb whole bone in, cavity attached, skin on turkey breast
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 very finely chopped and smashed garlic cloves
  • a handful of fresh parsley and sage, chopped
  • a smaller handful of fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • boxed low sodium turkey or chicken stock, so pan does not dry out on grill
  • 2 DEEP sided foil pans ( I like to double them for more strength) not the low half size lasagna pans.
Instructions
  1. BUTTER AND HERB MIXTURE
  2. In a bowl add the softened butter, garlic, all the herbs, salt and pepper, mix well together adding more herbs if you so desire.
  3. PREPARING THE TURKEY BREAST
  4. Take out turkey breast from fridge, wash and pat very dry, let it sit out for an hour before prepping it so it's not ice cold.
  5. Salt and pepper the whole bird, gently loosening the skin by sliding your fingers until you reach the end of the breast, be very careful not to tear the skin.
  6. Take some heavy duty foil and scrunch it into a ball and position it in the cavity of the turkey to give it stability in the pan so it doesn't fall over, this will keep it straight and upright.
  7. Slightly melt your butter mixture and brush it all over and under the breast lifting up the skin where you loosened it and slathering it all over.
  8. For a gas grill we keep the temperature heated to around 350 F. consistently, so that will require some constant checking to make sure it's in the zone more or less as close as you can.
  9. Place the doubled pan onto the grill no cover required because you'll be shutting the lid of the grill.
  10. Pour some chicken or turkey stock right into the bottom of the pan about ¼ inch deep, which you'll be checking every 20 minutes so as to not dry out, you want to maintain that ¼ inch dept.
  11. All burners are on because the turkey breast is in a pan and not directly touching the grill.
  12. The turkey is done when it reaches 165 F. in the thickest part of the breast meat using a meat thermometer.
  13. Start checking after 50 minutes depending on size of turkey and your outdoor grill.
  14. When it done remove from grill, tent with foil and let it rest at least ½ hour more more like an hour for easy and smooth slicing.
  15. If you can get yourself an electric knife it's life changing!
  16. Don't forget to have your make ahead gravy ready and warmed.
  17. Save the drippings from the pan for extra gravy the next day or to make soup from the carcass.
  18. I used a gas grill here but same method would work for charcoal grill as well.

 

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Brussels Sprouts, Italian Sausage and Balsamic Glaze

brussels sprouts and sausage

If brussels sprouts always seem to make an appearance on your holiday table then you’re in for a real treat with this delicious combination. Roasted brussels sprouts tossed together with the flavors of sweet Italian sausage flecked with fennel and spices and adorned with a rich, aged balsamic glaze.

This creation came to me last year by way of a friend and fellow blogger Lori, at Taste With The Eyes and I’ve been making it ever since. I served it for my family last Thanksgiving and I have to say not only does it taste amazing, it makes a gorgeous presentation on the table.brussels sprouts and sausage

Those of you who are on the fence about brussels sprouts I urge you to give this a try, the combination of the Italian sausage and the sweet balsamic glaze helps to cut the slight bitterness of the brussels sprouts, and roasting them heightens the flavor.

brussels sprouts and sausage

The holidays are upon us with Thanksgiving right around the corner get out your prettiest platter and grace your table with this amazing side dish!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week as well as this holiday season.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Brussels Sprouts, Italian Sausage and Balsamic Glaze
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Brussels sprouts, normal to small size
  • Italian sausage, sweet with fennel
  • Good quality balsamic glaze in a squeeze bottle for easy decorating
  • parsley
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice your sprouts in half lengthwise
  3. Toss sprouts with a good drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper
  4. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet cut side down and roast until tender and golden but not overcooked or too deep of a caramelization.
  5. In the meantime remove sausage from casing, place into a skillet on the stove and crumble it into bite size pieces.
  6. Cook sausage until completely done, remove and drain on paper towel.
  7. Toss the roasted sprouts with the cooked sausage, add some chopped parsley and place it all on a beautiful platter preferably with a rim so you can decorate it with the glaze.
  8. When your ready to serve and eat it drizzle some balsamic glaze all over the sprouts and sausage ( go light it's very potent, taste to see if it's to your liking) then decorate the rim of the platter with more of the glaze.
  9. NOTE:
  10. You can make this ahead of time and heat it up, everything EXCEPT the glaze, do that the last minute.
  11. Don't get too hung up about amounts just put it together, it all works!

 

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