“Pass the gravy,” will be the first thing you hear at any Thanksgiving table, right after, well, giving thanks. No holiday spread is complete without it. Why do we love gravy so much? No other dish has as much rich, concentrated flavor, both from the slow roasted turkey and the steady reducing of the liquid in the pan. Gravy elevates everything else on the plate; mashed potatoes and stuffing also benefit from a drizzle. The key is separating out the fat (so your gravy isn’t greasy), deglazing the pan (to catch all those delicious browned bits) and reducing until nicely thickened.
The turkey is roasted and resting on the cutting board. Now it’s time to turn those pan drippings into liquid gold, aka, the gravy. Follow these step-by-step instructions for a foolproof pan sauce guests will keep coming back for. The guide below is for the Classic Turkey Gravy recipe:
1. Line a large glass measure with a ziplock bag. Carefully pour the drippings from the roasting pan into the bag. Wait about 10 minutes—the fat will rise to the top. Lift the bag out of the glass measure and snip a small hole in the bottom corner. Immediately pinch the hole closed. Let the juices drain slowly from the hole into the empty glass measure, pinching the hole closed again just as the fat layer reaches the bottom of the bag. Discard the bag with the fat.
2. Place the roasting pan over medium or medium-high heat on your stove and add the liquid. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits, called fond, in the pan. You don’t want to boil the liquid just yet—the gravy will reduce once simmered in the saucepan. This step is simply to free the delicious bits from the roasting process (and make the pan much easier to clean).
3. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan to remove any bits of meat or skin. Add the remaining liquid and simmer until reduced, about 8 to 10 minutes. Dip a metal spoon into the gravy. If you can run your finger down the back of the spoon and it leaves a clear trail, the gravy is ready. Remove from the heat and stir in fresh thyme. Pour into your favorite gravy boat before bringing to the table.