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Rich Turkey Pan Gravy

Serves: Makes 4 cups


  • 4 to 5 cups homemade turkey stock (recipe follows) or chicken stock, divided
  • 10 medium shallots, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 large celery ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Pan drippings from turkey roasting pan
  • 2 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Homemade Turkey Stock:
  • Reserved turkey giblets (neck, gizzard, heart)
  • 2 pounds turkey legs, cut into 3-inch pieces, or chicken wing pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large celery ribs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed


This rich pan sauce starts with a succulent base of pan juices and builds flavor with the addition of roasted vegetables, red wine, and fresh herbs. You can adapt this recipe for a prime rib roast by using a full-bodied red wine like Syrah and fresh rosemary instead of thyme and sage. Roast a few peeled garlic cloves with the vegetables for even more flavor.

Homemade Turkey Stock: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack in the center. In a large roasting pan, place the giblets, turkey pieces, onions, carrots, celery, garlic cloves, and oil, tossing to coat. Place roasting pan in preheated oven and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until turkey and vegetables are a deep golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Remove roasting pan from oven and place over low heat on stove top. Add water and peppercorns and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Simmer until stock is richly flavored and reduced slightly, about 2 hours. Don’t allow the stock to boil; it should bubble gently. Remove stock from heat and allow stock to cool slightly.

Strain stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Gravy: As the turkey roasts, add turkey stock in ½ cup batches to pan as needed to prevent drippings from scorching. During the last ½ hour of roasting, add shallots, carrots, and celery to pan, stirring to coat with pan drippings.

When turkey finishes cooking, remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully remove the turkey and roasting rack. Place the turkey on a serving platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Allow the turkey to rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

While the turkey is resting, carefully pour pan drippings into a fat separator. Pour drippings back into the roasting pan and discard fat. Place roasting pan across two burners and heat over medium-high heat. Add stock and wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the roasting pan. Cook until stock mixture comes to a boil. Sprinkle flour over pan juices and whisk vigorously until mixture is smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and add thyme and sage sprigs. Simmer until gravy thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain gravy through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Cook’s Note: To keep lumps from forming when you whisk in the flour, place the flour and 1 cup of stock tin a jar and seal tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to dissolve the flour in the liquid. Whisk the flour mixture into the pan drippings along with the remaining stock and wine.

Cook’s Note: To keep your gravy warm while you finish last-minute dinner preparations, pour your gravy in an insulated container made to hold hot liquids.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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