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  1. Cooking

How to make solid turkey gravy before Thanksgiving Day

Make-ahead turkey gravy. Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

As far as we're concerned, anything you can make in advance of actual Thanksgiving Day is a good thing, and this make-ahead gravy fits the bill.

Plus, Tucker Shaw of America's Test Kitchen says it tastes just as good as if you made it with fresh turkey pan drippings.

"We think that gravy is a little bit mysterious, because people don't make it all the time," Shaw says. "And it's really not hard to make, but if you have 10 people in the kitchen, and you have a bunch of stuff going on, things can go south really quickly."

So America's Test Kitchen developed this recipe, which uses turkey meat plus the giblets and neck that come already bundled in the whole turkey you're buying for Thanksgiving. You can grab those while the turkey is in the process of defrosting.

Not sure how much gravy to make? Shaw says ½ cup gravy per person should be ample.

A few other notes about the recipe from America's Test Kitchen:

• Good gravy comes from good stock, so we started by roasting turkey parts with chopped carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Once the meat was deeply browned and the vegetables caramelized, we transferred everything to a Dutch oven. Chicken broth and white wine plus some sprigs of thyme promised flavorful, savory complexity.

• We used the stock's fat to build a roux, browning a cup of flour in the heated fat before whisking in the stock. The finished gravy boasted the body of a traditional preparation, but it was ready with time to spare and offered meaty depth.

• To make this gravy at the same time as your turkey, add the giblets and neck along with the thighs or wings. For more flavor, after roasting the turkey, skim drippings from the pan and add them to the gravy at the very end.

6 turkey thighs, trimmed, or 9 wings, separated at the joints

Reserved turkey giblets and neck, optional

2 medium carrots, chopped coarse

2 medium celery ribs, chopped coarse

2 medium onions, chopped coarse

1 head garlic, halved

Vegetable oil spray

10 cups chicken broth, plus extra as needed

2 cups dry white wine

12 sprigs fresh thyme

Unsalted butter, as needed

1 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper

Defatted turkey drippings, optional

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss thighs, giblets (if using), carrots, celery, onions and garlic together in large roasting pan and spray with vegetable oil spray. Roast, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 1?½ to 1?¾ hours.

Transfer contents of roasting pan to Dutch oven. Add broth, white wine and thyme sprigs and bring to boil, skimming as needed. Reduce to gentle simmer and cook until broth is brown and flavorful and measures about 8 cups when strained, about 1?½ hours. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into large container, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.

Let strained turkey broth settle (if necessary), then spoon off and reserve ½ cup of fat that has risen to top. (Add butter as needed if short on turkey fat.) Heat fat in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until bubbling. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until well browned, 3 to 7 minutes.

Slowly whisk in turkey broth and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until gravy is very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. Add defatted drippings, if using, to taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 2 quarts.

Source: America's Test Kitchen

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