How to make good gravy when you're not roasting a turkey?

I was just reading Elza B’s thread about To Brine or Not To Brine, and the subject of gravy came up. My dad is providing the turkey this year, and he’s buying one that’s smoked, so all I have to do is heat it up. But how do I make gravy if I don’t have any pan drippings?

I don’t really want to use jar stuff, or my mother-in-law’s favorite - white “gravy” (which always tastes like fatty peppery paste to me). Help!

You could take some unpopular pieces of the turkey, fry them in a pan with a little oil and some onion and/or garlic and/or shallot, add vegetable stock, white wine and/or water, scrape up the browned bits, throw in some whole, fresh herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme) and reduce by half. Then thicken with a mixture of cornstarch and water or pureed roasted carrot (which I have never tried) and season to taste.


Can you roast a chicken tonight and use the drippings from that? That’s my first choice. Failing that, go get some Better Than Bouillon and make it a bit stronger than the label calls for and thicken it with either a roux or a corn starch slurry.

Do NOT try this with canned chicken broth or bouillon cubes! Better Than Bouillon really is different and…uh…better…than bouillon.

There are a number of ways to do that, including the aforementioned chicken. Or go buy a turkey drumstick and roast it until you get some drippings. Or you can mince up some veggies like carrots, celery and onion, saute them in some oil, add flour, salt and pepper and brown a bit, then add chicken or turkey broth and a little Kitchen Bouquet, let it reduce for about a half hour and Bob’s your uncle.

Check your grocery store. I brought gravy to one of my kids’ events last year and there were tubs of frozen/refrigerated gravy over by the meat section. It was really quite good and better than the jar stuff.

Oddly enough, there is an article on the front page of Yahoo today with a recipe. I have no idea if it’s any good though.

Worst case, buy some chicken soup base (powder). Make a roux (butter - melted with an equal number of Tbsp of flour, cooked for a minute). Add chicken soup base to the roux and wisk as itheats to a boil. If its too thick, I use milk to thin it as this mellows the gravy.

Wow - that was fast! I think I might go the “extra drumstick” route - my son loves dark meat, and you can’t have too many leftovers, right?

Thanks for all your help.

That sounds like the best choice. Real turkey flavor. And a treat for your son!

Also roasting the meat gives the best flavor, add a few hunks of veggies like onions, celery and carrots around the turkey leg and they’ll add more flavor. Your son doesn’t have to eat them, you can toss them afterwards because they’ll be a bit used up.

Good gravy?

Curse you, WhyNot. Now. I desperately want about five types of Better Than Bouillon. It looks yummy.

Coworker to the rescue!

We had a T-day pitch in at work yesterday, and the new guy made a turkey, but no gravy. So I got to take home all of the pan drippings, plus a couple of wing tips and some fatty bits. I’ve got all the good bits I need without having to cook a whole bird. I always new I liked this guy.

BTW, when you add the cornstarch or whatever, dissolve it by mixing it in a bit of cold water first before adding it.

This prevents lumpage.

It’s really good stuff. Cook’s Illustrated rated it the highest of the broth/stock/bouillons available in the stores, and second only (of course) to homemade stock. I use the chicken and beef fairly regularly, 'cause I’m a frequent soup maker, but I’m confident their other flavors are just as good. It ends up being a lot cheaper than canned or boxed stock, too, which is a bonus. And since it packs so small and light, it’s awesome for making a pot of Stone Soup while camping!