Having make-ahead gravy for Thanksgiving on hand is key for making the holiday run smoothly — especially if you're hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. The secret to getting through the day in one piece is prepping ahead of schedule, and this make-ahead gravy is the perfect place to start.
Common sense tells you to wait until the bird is done cooking on Turkey Day so you can use the drippings for a true turkey gravy, but that's absolutely not true. According to Food52's test kitchen director, Josh Cohen, you can get away with using just chicken stock and your guests will never know.
Cohen's 1-2-3 Method starts with roasting a pan of veggies in the oven before letting them simmer on a stove. Onions, carrots, and celery are a good base, but feel free to add extras, such as mushrooms. Then, let your roasted veggies boil in a pot of chicken stock for four to six hours. Strain out the mixture and put it in the refrigerator. It'll last you a few days in the fridge, but you can freeze it if you need it to sit longer. Then, remove the frozen gravy and let it thaw when you need it. To thicken the stock, Cohen recommends adding two tablespoons of fat (like butter), two tablespoons of flour, and one cup of the stock to make your Thanksgiving gravy. You can also refrigerate the final product for a few days and reheat on the stove on the actual holiday.
For a special twist, Cohen suggests adding turkey necks to the pot when boiling the stock and roasted vegetables. Ask your butcher nicely for any leftover turkey necks.
Preparing gravy ahead of time for Thanksgiving might not sound like a big deal, but it'll seriously speed things up this Turkey Day. Then, you can get on to more important things, like pie, wine, and football.