It's All Gravy
As we rise to get that bird in the oven this Thanksgiving morning, there are numerous turkey hotlines to help us cross the finish line. Everyone's got their own 'foolproof' method: breast-down, injected, fried, tented, rubbed, smoked, brined, bagged and, my personal favorite, smothered in mayonnaise---I'm looking at you, Dad! But there's another gift from the Volkwein family passed on to me by my grandmother in the form of a basic, creamy pan gravy. This knowledge has made me the standing gravy maker many, many times over ever since:
1) Make a slurry in a jar by adding equal parts flour and milk or stock, depending on your dairy preference, close the lid and shake that jar until you have a paste.
2) When the turkey is out of the roasting pan, put the pan over two burners on medium. Skim extra fat off with paper towels (or pour it out and separate the oil using a baster, return juices to pan).
3) Deglaze the pan with a healthy shot or three of sherry, scraping the good bits up off the bottom.
4) Add hot stock to the pan plus a slug of the slurry and simmer, scraping and stirring continuously until thickened. (I like to use a spatula.) Repeat slurry/stock additions until you have the amount of gravy required. I usually make 3 or 4 cups. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
Alternatively, you can make gravy without fooling with the pan drippings. Below is a recipe for a mushroom-sherry gravy that does well with turkey---and can be made vegetarian using vegetable broth and gluten free by substituting tamari for the soy sauce, to please all at the table. Enjoy this day, Happy Thanksgiving.
Sherry Mushroom Cream Gravy
(Adapted from a recipe I created for Cooking.com/Target)
Yield: 2 cups, 8 servings
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups chopped cleaned cremini or mixed wild mushrooms
2 tablespoons medium-dry sherry
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Freshly ground pepper, taste
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the butter and oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until they release their juices, about 5 to 7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the sherry, sautéing for about 1 minute. Add the broth, cream, soy sauce, thyme and sage and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to simmer for 8 minutes, until the mixture has reduced slightly. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the hot broth. Whisk the slurry of cornstarch into the gravy. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook until slightly thickened. Season with pepper, to taste, and serve.