Smug as a bug…scrumptious make ahead turkey gravy

gravy2Herblay, France

Hello my dears,

Making our Christmas turkey gravy in November has become a bit of a tradition for me. I change it a bit each year and as you know, send out smug emails when it’s done. American friends might want to do a double batch and have some for Thanksgiving too. It is a bit time consuming and even though this year’s is the best yet, I did make a dumb mistake that cost me a lot of time. I’ll tell you about that later on.

This recipe makes about 6 cups of gravy or more if you do it right!


6 turkey wings

2 onions quartered

4 big branches of celery chopped into big chunks

1 big carrot chopped in big chunks

several branches fresh or dried thyme tied together

1 cup (240 mL) water

8 cups (1900 mL) chicken or turkey  broth

3/4 cup (95 grams) organic whole wheat flour (or regular all purpose white flour)

salt and pepper to taste



Preheat oven to 200 degrees Centigrade (400 degrees Fahrenheit)

Arrange turkey wings in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Scatter the onions and half the celery over the top. Roast for an hour and a quarter or until the wings are nicely browned. Turn wings over a couple of times during the roasting period.

Empty everything that’s in the roasting pan into a large stockpot. Add the cup of water to the roasting pan. Stir and scrape up all the brown bits. Be sure not to skip this step; the brown bits are fabulous flavour nuggets (yum!). Pour the flavour infused water into the stockpot. Stir in the rest of the celery, the carrot, thyme and 6 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for an hour and a half.

Here is where I made my mistake. I thought I’d be clever and spread this job over two days. So I let everything cool down and put it the fridge. Of course it got all jellied (gross!) and impossible to handle but I tried and lost a lot what used to be the liquid. I warmed it up again and by this time the meat was falling off the bones and got all mixed up with the vegetables and the skin. It took ages to get it all sorted out! So don’t do that.

Take the wings out of the stockpot  and put them on a cutting board. When they are cool enough to handle, pull off the skin and meat. Chuck out the bones and skin and use the meat for another recipe like turkey pie or stir fry.

Strain the contents of the stockpot through a large strainer into a big saucepan. Press on the vegetables to extract all the remaining liquid. Throw out the vegetables and skim off fat from the liquid. Bring to a gentle boil.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour into the remaining chicken broth. If you are using stock cubes-its faster to toss the cube into the hot liquid and whisk the flour with the 2 cups of water- same difference. Gradually whisky the flour mixture into the simmering turkey broth. Simmer and stir for 4 or 5 minutes until the gravy has thickened. This does not make a super thick gravy. If you prefer it really thick increase the flour to one cup. In either case it will be as smooth as silk and full of rich turkey flavour.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool and freeze. All that’s left to do is feel smug. When you want to use the gravy, heat it in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove top. I thaw it first but I doubt if you have to. Don’t forget to add the juices from your cooked turkey. Scrumptious!


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5 thoughts on “Smug as a bug…scrumptious make ahead turkey gravy

  1. Beth @ Culinary Correspondence November 16, 2014 at 4:42 pm Reply

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I can’t wait to smother my mashed potatoes with this delicious gravy. I never realised how much work was involved in making it! THANKS for making it every year 🙂

  2. Emily @ November 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm Reply

    I love turkey dinner- it’s my favorite meal of the year. The gravy- your gravy- brings it all together. Yum! I can’t wait until Xmas!!!!!!

  3. ellenfetu November 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm Reply

    Love it. Yum!!!!


  4. Hanin November 17, 2014 at 7:09 am Reply

    Thank you Jan !! I didn’t know you prepared your gravy in November.. You start working for Christmas so early so that we have a great dinner together… Thank you for that 🙂
    We can’t wait to come for Christmas… We will be in Herblay in less than a month !
    So excited ! I am so happy because it will also be Norah’s first Christmas 🙂 And I am sure it will be perfect, like every year.
    Lots of kisses to all and have a great week

  5. Jan November 23, 2014 at 11:26 pm Reply

    Tomorrow I start on the stuffing!!!!!

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