You need gravy to lubricate the turkey, moisten the mashed potatoes, douse the stuffing. But don’t let the fact that it’s made at the last minute stress you out. Here’s a secret: You can make gravy up to five days ahead and store it in the fridge. Then, as you reheat it, whisk in the turkey pan drippings for extra flavor. Mark Bittman’s version is every bit as good as last-minute gravy (I tested the two kinds side by side to be sure). And far less crazy-making.
1 stick butter
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup flour
4 to 5 cups rich stock, warmed
Turkey drippings and giblets, optional
Salt and pepper
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on the onions, stirring constantly, and cook until flour is golden to brown. Adjust heat so mixture does not burn.
Gradually whisk in 4 cups stock until mixture thickens and is smooth. If it is too thick, add liquid. Cool, cover and chill.
When ready to serve, reheat mixture over low heat, stirring. Scrape bottom of turkey pan and add drippings or giblets to gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.
Makes 5 to 6 cups.