Make-ahead Thanksgiving Gravy

Most Thanksgiving gravy recipes require last-minute construction as they usually call for pan drippings from the bird to make a broth to thicken. This means a lot of last-minute fuss and more times than not, disappointing flavor. The approach here is to create a flavorful and concentrated stock ahead of time…way ahead, and then thicken it before use. It's the best gravy I know how to make. I often finish it a couple of hours before I serve the bird and keep it hot in a thermos. Before you begin, gather ingredients and equipment. Measure out ingredients.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 10 min (plus up to 3 months freezer time)
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 3 cups of concentrated stock / 1 pint of gravy
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1 large white onion

1 large carrot

2 stalks celery

6 whole chicken wings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 sprigs fresh thyme

6 leaves fresh sage

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/4 cup red wine

6 cups water


1 teaspoon brown miso paste

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

2 cups Stock (above), at room temperature

3 tablespoons (40 grams) high-quality unsalted butter

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (40 grams) all-purpose flour

Kosher salt, to taste


Special equipment:
Large, wide Dutch oven with lid Tall, medium saucepot Fine sieve Fat separator Tongs Various mise bowls Tablespoon measure Teaspoon measure 1/2-teaspoon measure 1/4-cup liquid measure Cutting board Quarter sheet pan Pint container Heavy knife or cleaver Chef's knife Colander Whisk Saucepan or saucier Spoon Gravy boat Gravy ladle Pepper grinder 6-cup liquid measure 4-cup liquid measure Hot pad or kitchen towel
  1. To make the stock: Peel and quarter the onion into wedges and cut the carrot and celery stalks into several large pieces. Chop each chicken wing into three pieces using a heavy chef's knife or cleaver.
  2. Heat a large heavy pot or, better, a wide Dutch oven over high heat. Add the oil and brown the wing pieces thoroughly. Remove to a plate or bowl.
  3. Place the onion wedges cut-side down in the bottom of the pot and scatter the carrots and celery around. Cook, without moving, until the surface of the onion is dark brown. Then flip and cook the other flat side in the same manner. As the onion is cooking, move the carrots and celery so that they brown as well, but the important thing is browning the onion.
  4. When the second side of the onion is dark brown, add the thyme, sage, and peppercorns and return the chicken to the pot. Deglaze the pot with the red wine, stirring for about 15 seconds and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover tightly, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour. (If steam starts belching out from under the lid, turn the heat down a bit.)
  5. Kill the heat and let the pot sit, still covered, for 30 minutes. Then strain the stock through a colander set over a tall, medium saucepot. You should have approximately 5 cups of liquid. Discard the solids as they've given their all.
  6. Bring the strained stock to a boil over high heat yet again, then reduce to medium and simmer for 30 minutes to reduce and concentrate the flavors. After this you should be left with about 3 cups. Strain through a fine sieve into a fat separator and cool long enough for the fat to settle on top. Then pour off the stock into another container, seal and refrigerate. The stock can be kept chilled for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
  7. To make the gravy: Whisk the miso, Worcestershire sauce, dark brown sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper into the 2 cups of stock.
  8. Melt the butter in a saucepan or saucier over medium-low heat. When the foaming, subsides whisk in the flour. Continue to cook, whisking, until the foaming stops and the roux darkens slightly to light blonde, 3 to 5 minutes.
  9. While whisking constantly, slowly pour the stock mixture into the roux. Boost the heat to medium and whisk until the gravy gently bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. At this point it should heavily coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more black pepper.
  10. If there are any signs of lumps, strain through a fine sieve into a gravy boat to serve or another vessel to cool and store. You may need to use a serving spoon to push it through the sieve. The gravy can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months then reheated gently for service or, as mentioned above, kept hot in a thermos.
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