Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Gravy Starter

With Thanksgiving just days away, it's time to start preparing what can be made ahead.  Here's a recipe for an easy gravy starter that can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept in the fridge until ready to use.  It's a great way to get a head start on that perfect gravy.  Traditionally, it's made using that little bag of "extras" that come with the turkey... you know, all those lovely organs and things.  But this year, I decided not to use those since I was making it to take to my mom's (and the turkey was at her house, two and a half hours away from me).  You can love me or hate me for it, but I used bacon instead- and it definitely added a certain something to the flavor of the gravy.  In fact, I may just claim it as my secret ingredient... that I'm sharing with all of you!  Here's how Mama makes it:

Gravy Starter
- 2 T. butter
- 5-6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used pre-cooked)
- 1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 cup celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
- 6 cups chicken and/or turkey stock (plus more, plan on about 8 cups to be safe, or two cartons)
- 1 T. whole peppercorns, optional (I like a peppery gravy, so I decided to add it to the starter as well.  However, I recommend waiting to add the salt until you make the gravy or the end result may be too salty.)


1.  In a stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add the bacon (or that bag of organs that comes with Mr. Bird) and saute until dark brown.

2.  Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and add to the pot.  Saute over medium-high heat until veggies are dark brown.

3.  Add the stock and peppercorns, if using.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. 

4.  Once stock is reduced by about half and a beautiful brown color, remove from heat and pour over a strainer into a 4 cup measuring cup (if you don't have one of these, get one - you will find so many uses for it!).  Press the vegetables down to release all the juices.

5.  Add enough chicken stock to bring the final quantity to 4 cups.   Place in refrigerator uncovered until cooled, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Can be made up to 2 days before.

what a gorgeous color!


  1. I made this for tomorrow. How do I use with turkey drippings?


      Here's the link to my gravy recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!