Good gravy begins with good stock. At least one day (and up to four days) before the feast, make your own rich turkey stock. For a recipe, see our Do-Ahead Turkey Stock; in a pinch, you can use store-bought low-salt chicken broth, but the results with homemade are incomparable.
Recipe by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or turkey fat
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups turkey stock, warm
2 bay leaves or 1 sprig thyme (optional)
4 dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
2 teaspoons porcini powder (optional)
2 tablespoons Madeira (optional)
Melt butter or turkey fat in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. The roux will become smooth and golden brown. Keep whisking! Within 2-3 minutes it will be the color of café au lait and smell slightly toasted. Gradually whisk in the warm turkey stock, bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the gravy's at a bare simmer.
Now, for an herbaceous kick, add bay leaves or sprig thyme. For an umami boost, stir in dried porcini mushrooms or porcini powder along with Madeira. With or without these upgrades, let gravy simmer until reduced by half, then remove herbs or mushrooms with a slotted spoon. Season with kosher salt and serve. Or keep the gravy warm until the turkey is finished and take it one step further...
Transfer your turkey to a cutting board and strain the drippings from the pan into a measuring cup. Skim the fat; add enough water to measure 1 cup. Place the pan across two burners set on medium-high heat. Add the drippings mixture and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Strain into the gravy; simmer until slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and serve.
More from Bon Appetit: