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turkey gravy in gravy boat
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4.87 from 23 votes

Turkey Gravy Without Drippings (Make Ahead From Scratch)

Gravy is the crowning glory at a Thanksgiving dinner. A homemade 'from scratch' turkey gravy without drippings has deep rich flavor that will make your Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing shine. The best part is that you can make it ahead and avoid the last minute pressure. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Sauces and Gravies
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 8 -10
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

For Roasting

  • 2 pounds turkey wings (or legs, thighs)
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut into big pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into big pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and black pepper for sprinkling

To make turkey broth

  • 5 cups chicken broth or chicken stock (or 1 liter box plus 1 cup water)
  • handful of fresh thyme sprigs (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns

To make gravy

  • 3 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter (or use vegetable or olive oil instead)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup juices from roast turkey (or extra broth)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F/204C. See Note 2 for shortcut.
  • ROAST WINGS AND VEGETABLES: Place vegetables on a pan lined with parchment paper or foil sprayed with oil. Drizzle oil on vegetables and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place wings on top. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour or until wings are golden brown and vegetables begin to caramelize.
  • MAKE THE BROTH: Place roasted wings and vegetables in a pot. Scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan and add them too. Add broth, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes. The broth will reduce to about 2 to 2 1/2 cups. Discard the wings and vegetables (or nibble!), reserving half cup of the cooked carrots if desired. Strain the broth into another container and set aside. I transfer the broth to a fat separator that allows you to pour off the broth with only the grease remaining at the bottom. If you don't have a separator, just skim the grease off the top of the broth when if floats to the top.
  • MAKE THE GRAVY: In a separate medium saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Add flour and whisk to make a roux 'paste'. Cook the roux while stirring for 2-3 minutes until it just starts to turn light brown. Don't let it get too dark or burn. Add half of turkey broth and whisk until smooth. Add remaining broth and stir until thickened and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, thyme or poultry seasoning as needed. Gravy will be fairly thick - on purpose, allowing you to add another cup of juices from the turkey on the day of serving. Note 2 to enhance or deepen flavor. Note 3 for troubleshooting problems.

Notes

  1. Shortcut: You can save time - about 90 minutes - by making the turkey broth in an instant pot. This eliminates the roasting of the wings and veggies as well as the simmering down of the broth on the stove top. Make this instant pot turkey soup recipe. Then remove the turkey and veggies after it's cooked and set the function to SAUTE. Cook down the broth until you get a deeper more concentrated flavor, about 10 minutes. Then continue the recipe from there. You won't get that roasted flavor, but it will still be a delicious gravy.
  2. Ways to deepen or enhance flavor:
    • For extra sweetness and color (optional): I often blend in a half cup of the soft cooked carrots using an immersion blender
    • Cook down broth longer to intensify flavor
    • Add more seasonings such as: a bouillon cube or teaspoon of bouillon paste, more thyme, poultry seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper, sage or a little bit of worcestershire sauce (1/2-1 tsp_. 
  3. Troubleshooting problems:
    • Gravy is too thick: add more broth
    • Gravy is too thin: mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water, then add to the simmering gravy to thicken it. Repeat if necessary. 
    • Lumpy gravy: Whisk vigorously until smooth. If that doesn't work, either strain the gravy through a fine mesh sieve or blend it until smooth with an immersion blender. 
  4. Make ahead or leftover gravy:
    • The gravy can be made several days ahead and stored in the fridge in an airtight container or ziploc bag (if you need the room in your fridge). Reheat it on the stove over medium-low heat. If too thick, add more broth.
    • To freeze, place the cooled gravy in a sealed zipper lock bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to 4 months. Defrost before using. Frozen gravy may separate – just whisk it vigorously and it will smooth out when reheated.
Nutrition values are estimates.  
Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 136IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.5mg