Most folks wait until right before Thanksgiving dinner is served to make the gravy, using the turkey drippings from the pan. But if you don’t have drippings or just want to prepare the gravy well in advance, this easy make-ahead recipe has plenty of turkey flavor. Make a simple turkey stock from turkey legs using aromatics and herbs as the gravy’s base. Sauté some shallots for depth and use a little flour to thicken the gravy. Pour it over this brined turkey breast or even turkey meatloaf.
Game plan: The gravy can be refrigerated in a container with a tightfitting lid for up to 4 days. To reheat, place the gravy in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until hot, about 10 minutes. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator, then reheat.
- 1Heat the oil in a large, wide pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the turkey legs and cook, turning occasionally, until a brown crust forms on the bottom of the pot and the legs are browned all over, about 10 minutes.
- 2Add 3/4 cup of the wine and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the alcohol smell has burned off, about 1 minute. Add the celery, carrot, onion, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Pour in the water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the stock has a distinct turkey flavor, about 2 hours.
- 3Remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs, remove any large bone and vegetable pieces and discard. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof measuring cup or bowl with a spout and pour in the stock. Discard the solids in the strainer. Set the stock aside. (You should have about 4 to 4 1/2 cups.)
- 4Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of wine and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is reduced by two-thirds, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, whisking occasionally, until the raw flour flavor has cooked off, about 2 minutes.
- 5While whisking, slowly pour in the reserved turkey stock and whisk until incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking constantly, until the gravy thickens and the flavors meld, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
- 6If not serving immediately, transfer to a container with a tightfitting lid and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days. To reheat, place the gravy in a medium saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until hot, about 10 minutes.