If you make a dry-brined spatchcocked turkey, (which we highly recommend, see our recipe here!) you’ll be left with a very flavorful back bone you can use to make turkey stock and gravy ahead of time. Everyone knows making the gravy is the most stressful part of the big day, so why not get it out of the way ahead of time?
For the Turkey Stock
Reserved Turkey backbone from spatchcocked turkey
Reserved Turkey neck
1 Turkey Breast (from a separate turkey) **This is optional, but yielded nice drippings for gravy, plus you can use the meat for soup!
1 cup white wine
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 large parsnip, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek, dark green parts discarded,halved
Handful of parsley stems
1 tbsp black peppercorns
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Gravy:
Reserved drippings from roasted backbone, neck and breast
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
2 cloves roasted garlic (recipe below)
5 cups prepared turkey stock
To make the stock:
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Add turkey breast, neck and backbone to a stove top safe roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until breast is cooked through. Set meat aside, then deglaze pan with the white wine, scraping up all of the fond from the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, then pour drippings into a metal mixing bowl and set in the fridge.
Allow to cool slightly, then remove most of the meat from the breast (if using) and reserve for another use. Add back bone, neck and breast bone to a very large stock pot. Add the remaining stock ingredients, and fill to almost the top with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook for about 5 hours or until you have a deeply flavored stock. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot, reserving any turkey meat for another use. Push down on the vegetables and bones to make sure you extract all of the flavor. Set aside 5 cups of stock for the gravy, and add the rest to freezer safe glass jars and freeze until ready to use.
To make the gravy:
When stock is finished cooking, remove reserved drippings from the fridge and scoop off hardened fat from the top. Add to a medium saute pan, reserving the liquid drippings. To the pan, add butter and heat over medium heat until melted. Add the roasted garlic, mashing it with the back of a spoon so it blends in with the butter. Sift in flour and stir constantly. Cook until the roux light golden brown, and smells nutty. Then, slowly add in the stock, whisking constantly. Then add reserved liquid drippings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 5- 10 minutes, or until the gravy has thickened and reduced. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed. Let cool and pour into a freezer safe jar, leaving a little room for expansion.
Freeze until Thanksgiving eve, then let thaw in the fridge over night. 30 minutes before turkey is done, add gravy to a sauce pan, and slowly reheat over low heat. When you remove turkey from the oven, strain any drippings into the pre-made gravy, whisking until smooth. Bring to a simmer before serving.
Notes: If the gravy is too thin after adding the drippings from your Thanksgiving Day Turkey, make a slurry of equal parts cornstarch and stock (about 2 tsp of each). Bring gravy to a boil, then whisk in slurry. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until it reaches your desired consistency.
2 heads garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Cut 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic bulbs and drizzle with about 1 tbsp olive oil each. Turn to coat, then season the exposed garlic bulbs with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and roast in the oven for about 50 minutes. Use to flavor gravy, mashed potatoes, gratins and salad dressing for your Thanksgiving meal!