Thanksgiving is fast approaching and prices of food are only on the rise making many families look for ways to save on Thanksgiving dinner. One great way to save money is to make your own turkey gravy.
You can use the drippings from your pan and pantry staples you already have on hand to make the gravy instead of paying for canned gravy at the store. The flavor of your homemade gravy will be better than anything you can find at the store.
Why you should make your own turkey gravy
Making your own gravy can be more cost-effective than purchasing pre-made options, especially if you have most of the ingredients on hand. Making your own turkey gravy gives you full control over the flavor while also allowing you to make use of pan drippings that would otherwise be thrown out.
What you need to make turkey garvey
- 1/4 cup turkey drippings (or butter or oil if you don’t have drippings)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups turkey or chicken broth (canned or homemade)
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to make homemade turkey gravy
If you have drippings from a roasted turkey, use them. If not, you can use melted butter or cooking oil as a substitute.
In a saucepan, heat the turkey drippings (or butter/oil) over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk continuously to combine. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until it turns a light golden color.
Gradually pour in the turkey or chicken broth while whisking constantly. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Allow it to cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gravy has thickened to your desired consistency.
Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper as needed. Keep in mind that the broth and drippings may already have some salt, so adjust accordingly.
How to get the lumps out of gravy
If your gravy has developed lumps, don’t worry! There are a few simple steps you can take to smooth it out:
Whisking: This is the most immediate and effective method. Use a wire whisk to vigorously stir the gravy. This will help break up the lumps and incorporate the flour or starch more evenly.
Straining: If whisking doesn’t completely remove the lumps, you can strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer. This will catch any remaining lumps and leave you with a smooth, lump-free gravy.
Blender or Immersion Blender: If the lumps are persistent, you can transfer the gravy to a blender (in batches if necessary) or use an immersion blender to smooth it out. Be careful when blending hot liquids; start at a low speed and gradually increase.
Use a Gravy Shaker or Mason Jar: If you have a gravy shaker or a mason jar with a tight-sealing lid, you can add the lumpy gravy, seal it tightly, and shake it vigorously. This can help break up the lumps.
Add More Liquid: If the gravy is too thick and lumpy, you can gradually whisk in more liquid (such as broth or water) until it reaches your desired consistency. This can help smooth out the texture.
Cooking Further: If your gravy is still lumpy after trying the above methods, you can continue to cook it over low heat, stirring constantly. The heat can help dissolve any remaining lumps.
Remember to taste the gravy after making adjustments and adjust the seasoning as needed. It’s also a good idea to strain the gravy even if you’ve successfully removed the lumps, as this can result in an even smoother texture.
Preventing lumps in the first place can also be achieved by whisking continuously while adding flour or starch, and by making sure to add liquid gradually and whisking well to combine.
How to change up the flavor of turkey gravy
Herbs and Spices: Thyme, sage, rosemary, and parsley are classic herbs that pair well with turkey. You can use them fresh or dried. Add them during the cooking process to infuse flavor.
Aromatics: Onions, garlic, and shallots can be sautéed in the pan with the turkey drippings before adding flour and broth. They impart a savory depth to the gravy.
Bay Leaves: Adding a bay leaf to the simmering gravy can provide a subtle, earthy flavor.
Wine or Sherry: Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine or sherry after removing the turkey. Allow it to cook off before adding the flour and broth. This adds a layer of complexity to the flavor profile.
Soy Sauce or Worcestershire Sauce: These sauces can add depth, umami, and a savory richness to your gravy. Just be mindful of the salt content, especially if you’re using store-bought broth.
Dijon Mustard: A small amount of Dijon mustard can provide a tangy kick and enhance the overall flavor.
Stock Options: If you’re not using pan drippings, consider using a flavored stock or broth. For example, using a turkey or chicken stock that’s been simmered with herbs and vegetables will add extra layers of flavor.
Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms add a savory, earthy flavor. You can add them along with the aromatics.
Citrus Zest or Juice: A small amount of lemon or orange zest or a splash of juice can brighten up the gravy and add a fresh element.
Butter or Cream: A small pat of butter or a splash of cream can add richness and a velvety texture to the gravy.
Reducing for Intensity: If you have the time, you can let the gravy simmer for a longer period to concentrate the flavors.