Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. There’s just something about making a big, beautiful meal to share with family or friends. I realize not everyone enjoys cooking as much as I do, and you may be dreading spending all day in the kitchen. One way to help offset the amount of time it takes to prepare your holiday feast is to make some menu items ahead of time. Believe it or not, gravy is something you can prep a few hours ahead, or even the day before, the big meal.
My turkey day gravy is somewhat legendary among my family and friends, since I usually prepare it right before serving dinner and in the old school way that my dad taught me (by using the drippings from the bird). But this year our Thanksgiving holiday will be a little different, for starters, we’re not having a traditional turkey on the holiday, but instead will savor turkey and all the trimmings a few days later when we host family.
Given that I’ll have a full house of people, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to step up my recipe in a couple of ways, not just with flavor, but with coming up with a make ahead gravy that’s simple to put together and one that reheats well for not just the Thanksgiving meal, but also to incorporate into leftovers.
With that challenge in mind I whipped up an herb gravy from scratch using chicken stock from College Inn. I like using this brand because they make stock as well as broth. Typically, using store bought broth to make gravy, while convenient, doesn’t have the same amount of flavor as homemade slow simmered stock. But I like that College Inn not only offers a variety of stocks, but that they’re also full of flavor since they’re simmered with onions, carrots, celery and bay leaf, similar to how I make my own from scratch when I have bones on hand.
The gravy recipe is below, or you can watch me make the gravy in this TikTok post. I’ve been curious about the social media platform for a while, but was hesitant to create an account because I wasn’t sure I’d do well creating video content, but last week I took the plunge and signed up for TikTok and so far I’m having a lot of fun making cooking videos. If you’re on TikTok, I’d love to connect with you! Now, on to the gravy recipe, and what to do with the leftovers.
Make ahead Thanksgiving gravy recipe
4 tbls. butter, melted
4 tbls. all-purpose flour
1-2 good splashes of white cooking wine (optional, but it ups the flavor)
16 ounces of College Inn chicken stock or chicken broth (if you skip the wine, add a few extra splashes of broth)
small handful of dried whole sage leaves (or 1 tsp. dried ground sage)
1 tsp. dried parsely
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the flour to make a roux. Once the roux begins to brown and small bubbles appear, use a whisk or wooden spoon to stir and keep from burning. Add splashes of wine, then add about a 1/4 cup of broth, stirring frequently to incorporate. When the roux begins to thicken, slowly incorporate more broth, herbs, and other seasonings and stir frequently until desired thickness is achieved (this took about five minutes for me). Serve over mashed potatoes, or, if you’re like my husband, go ahead and drizzle it over your entire Thanksgiving plate 😀
Note: this recipe yields about one and a half cups of gravy, which will serve between 4-6 people, so double or triple it to feed a crowd.
So you’ve made turkey, gravy, and all the trimmings. If your family is anything like ours, the two items you probably have the most leftover are turkey and gravy. If that’s the case and you’re wondering what to do with it all, I came up with a recipe to incorporate the leftovers into a whole new meal that (thankfully) doesn’t taste like Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not sure what to call this dish. It’s a little like stroganoff, with a bit of a classic tuna casserole vibe, but with some spinach thrown in and made with turkey and gravy. Intrigued? Read on for the recipe!
Creamy turkey served over egg noodles
8 ounces egg noodles
3 ounces cream cheese (cut into cubes and softened)
1 tbls. butter
1 cup leftover gravy
1 cup leftover turkey meat, shredded or chopped
1/4 small onion, chopped
3 ounces of jarred mushrooms, chopped
2 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
splash of chicken broth
1-2 ladles of starchy pasta water
salt and pepper to taste
Boil egg noodles and reserve starchy pasta water. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat and add onions and mushrooms, cook until onions are translucent, then add gravy, cream cheese and incorporate a few tablespoons of pasta water and a splash of broth. Stir until sauce reaches desired thickness and add salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach and cook until it starts to wilt (around 2-3 minutes), then add leftover meat and cooked egg noodles. Stir to combine and add more broth or pasta water, if needed to thin sauce. Serve immediately, or make ahead for a quick dinner or lunch. This recipe yields about two large servings.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday and if you decide to make one or both of these recipes, please give me a shout and let me know how you like them. You can comment here, or tag me on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or Pinterest.
Note: I received products from College Inn to incorporate into recipes and any articles I may write around those meals. As a reminder, I may review or use products from time to time and tell you about them, but I won’t recommend something I don’t like or I’ve never tried 🙂