Most of us wait until right before Thanksgiving dinner is served—when the kitchen is a swirling vortex of kids, dogs, and your brother-in-law looking for the wine opener—to make gravy, using drippings from the roasting pan. If you don’t have drippings (maybe you cooked our BBQ Turkey) or just like to tick off your to-do boxes well in advance, this easy make-ahead recipe yields gravy with plenty of rich turkey flavor. Start by making a simple turkey stock from turkey legs, vegetables, and herbs. Sauté some shallots for depth, add some white wine (use a little extra stock if you prefer to skip the wine), and sprinkle in a little flour. Add your rich turkey stock, and let it simmer until the flour works its thickening magic.
This gravy transforms our Orange, Honey, and Thyme Brined Turkey Breast into the ultimate celebration dish, and elevates Turkey Meatloaf.
Make-ahead notes: The gravy can be refrigerated in a container with a tightfitting lid for up to 4 days. To reheat, place the gravy in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until hot, about 10 minutes. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator for a day, then reheat.
Check out other make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes, and our Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide for everything else.
- Yield: 3 to 3 1/2 cups
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 3 hrs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 turkey legs
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 2 medium celery stalks, each cut into 3 pieces
- 1 medium carrot, cut into 3 pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallot (from about 1 medium shallot)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Heat the oil in a large, wide pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the turkey legs and cook, turning occasionally, until a brown crust forms on the bottom of the pot and the legs are browned all over, about 10 minutes.
- Add 3/4 cup of the wine and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the alcohol smell has burned off, about 1 minute. Add the celery, carrot, onion, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Pour in the water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the stock has a distinct turkey flavor, about 2 hours.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs, remove any large bone and vegetable pieces and discard. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof measuring cup or bowl with a spout and pour in the stock. Discard the solids in the strainer. Set the stock aside. (You should have about 4 to 4 1/2 cups.)
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of wine and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is reduced by two-thirds, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, whisking occasionally, until the raw flour flavor has cooked off, about 2 minutes.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the reserved turkey stock and whisk until incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking constantly, until the gravy thickens and the flavors meld, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
- If not serving immediately, transfer to a container with a tightfitting lid and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days. To reheat, place the gravy in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until hot, about 10 minutes.