This easy gravy recipe is my go-to for the holidays, not only because it makes about 4 cups of delicious, smooth sauce, but also because this old fashioned giblet gravy can be made in advance. That’s right — make ahead gravy! It’s turkey gravy without drippings (well, you can add them in later if you want and I usually do). Use the giblets and turkey neck to enhance store bought broth for a rich, flavorful addition to your Thanksgiving and Christmas spread. This turkey neck gravy is so good, you’ll want it for your rotisserie chickens too, because maple sage gravy goes well with any poultry.
My mantra for cooking during the holidays is to get as much done in advance as possible. That means cranberry sauce is made several days ahead or even the weekend before. Stuffing is assembled the day before as are the desserts. So, why would I leave the old fashioned giblet gravy to the last minute, right?
Ingredients For Make Ahead Gravy
- Homemade or Store-bought Chicken or Turkey Stock (low-sodium/no-sodium preferred)
- Turkey Neck & Giblets (heart, livers — everything that comes in that little package)
- Whole Peppercorns
- Wondra Flour
- Cider Vinegar
- Maple Syrup
- Fresh Sage
- Black Pepper
- Browning Sauce
You may be wondering how this could be a “make ahead gravy” if we need the turkey neck and giblets for it. It’s simple. I brine my turkey overnight — which means I take the turkey out a day or two before and can easily retrieve that little package of goodies, but you could also ask your butcher for any leftover turkey (and or chicken) necks and giblets Believe me, this kind of advance planning comes in very handy when you’re the one in charge of putting together the holiday meal.
Preparing The Stock For Easy Gravy Recipe
- Simmer the turkey neck and giblets in the stock along with the other aromatics for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the stock has reduced a little. Note, you’ll want to use a low or no sodium broth because as the stock simmers and reduces, the liquid evaporates somewhat and concentrates the flavors — especially salt. To avoid a too salty sauce, use the low sodium variety (you can always add more, later).
- Remove the turkey neck and set aside (note, if you want to pick the meat off the neck and add it back to the gravy later, you can. For a smooth gravy, discard the neck.)
- Strain the infused stock through a fine mesh strainer and into a large bowl or quart sized measuring cup.
- Press on the solids to get every bit of moisture and flavor from them. Discard solids.
Assembling the Turkey Neck Gravy
- In the same pan you simmered the stock, add the butter and melt it over medium high heat.
- Whisk in the Wondra flour (you can use all purpose as well, but Wondra makes a very smooth sauce) until a paste forms. Cook for a minute, letting the roux bubble and cook away any flour taste, stirring constantly.
- Slowly whisk in the strained stock a little at a time. Don’t add more stock until the previous addition is smooth and emulsified.
- Continue in this manner until you’ve added all the stock. Bring the make ahead gravy to a boil and cook for one minute, whisking constantly until it thickens to the consistency of the turkey neck gravy you want.
- Remove from heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, chopped sage, black pepper and browning liquid.
- Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
- Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.
So up to this point, this is a turkey gravy without drippings. However, if you happen to have drippings — like say, on the day that you’re making a turkey — and you wanted to add them to your turkey neck gravy, you absolutely can when you’re reheating the gravy.
Want to add turkey drippings? Here’s How:
- Pour the drippings into a glass measuring cup and look at it. Fat will rise to the top and the turkey jus will sink.
- Skim off the fat layer and discard. Use only the jus.
- Depending on the amount of drippings you have, it may thin the sauce, but that’s ok. You can use this simple trick to thicken it back up again if needed:
To thicken gravy after adding optional drippings:
In a small bowl, mash together equal parts butter and flour (say, 1 tablespoon of each for each additional cup of drippings you add.) until it forms a thick paste.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the make-ahead gravy to just below boiling and whisk in the drippings and butter mixture, until it completely dissolves in the sage gravy. Continue stirring until it thickens. Adjust seasonings to taste.
One last trick…
If you’re making this to go with a rotisserie chicken, sometimes the chicken comes in a plastic domed container and collects the chicken juices at the bottom of the container… That jus is liquid gold. Add it to your maple sage gravy for an even richer flavor.
More Easy Gravy Recipes:
What To Serve with Maple Sage Make Ahead Gravy:
- Whole Smoked Turkey
- Bourbon Maple Brined Smoked Turkey
- Parmesan Apple Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin
- Simple Herb Roasted Chicken
Maple Sage Gravy
- 4 cups chicken or turkey stock (or store-bought low sodium chicken broth)
- turkey neck, giblets, heart (not liver) optional
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 6 sage leaves
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Wondra flour (or all purpose flour)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped sage
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon browning sauce (Gravy Master) optional
- In a large saucepan combine the stock, turkey parts (if using), peppercorns, 6 sage leaves, sliced onion and chopped celery. Heat to just below boiling, place the lid 3/4 on the pan (so that steam may escape) and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer stock for 20 minutes.
- Remove the turkey neck with a pair of tongs. Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl or 1 quart measuring cup and pour the broth through the strainer. Press down on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to release as much of the liquid as possible. Discard solids.
- Add the butter to the pan and melt it over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour until a thick paste forms and the mixture is bubbly. Add the salt to the flour mixture and whisk to combine.
- Slowly add the strained broth, whisking constantly until mixture is smooth and velvety. Heat to a boil, stirring and scraping the sides of the pan constantly. Cook for one minute until mixture thickens and remove from heat.
- Stir in the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, chopped sage, fresh pepper and browning sauce. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your tastes. This gravy can be made a day or two ahead of time and reheated just before serving.
- You can reheat the gravy in the microwave or on the stovetop.
ADD PAN JUICES
- If you've made the gravy ahead of time and want to augment it with pan juices and fond from your turkey or chicken, here's how to do it:
- Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and set aside to rest. Place the roasting pan on your stovetop so that it covers two burners. Turn the burners on to a medium high heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to the pan and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any fond or stuck-on flavorings. Add the gravy to the roasting pan and stir until heated through. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
- MAKES 4 CUPS