Mushroom Turkey Gravy by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan
November 24, 2020
Sauces and gravies are very satisfying to make, and not so difficult.
That being said, I think turkey-gravy-making falls into two camps: Those who can make turkey gravy right in the roasting pan using the turkey drippings (the roasted bird having first been removed to a platter). No measuring involved. My mother belonged to this group. A true gravy-alchemist.
And then there’s the rest of us: Those who make a separate classic French flour-bound sauce; aka a ‘velouté’ using measured amounts of flour, butter and stock. No ‘winging it’ for this group!
I know that as a classically trained French chef, I lack my mother’s gravy-boldness. And I console myself by saying my version is perfect to make in advance. Waiting for drippings not necessary.
Small consolation, I know.
But, be assured this gravy is equally delicious and perfect for the smaller turkeys or turkey-parts we will be roasting this year.
And yes, it can be made in advance.
- Prep: 30 mins
- Cook: 40 mins
- Yields: 4 ½ to 5 cups finished sauce
8-10 ounces fresh brown mushrooms (I use creminis or baby portabellas)
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Optional: ¼ cup dry Sherry or dry white wine or Madeira
1-small package mixed fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary & sage
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups (1 ½ quarts/48 ounces) homemade, or low-or-no sodium prepared turkey stock
Rinse the dirt off the mushrooms and pat dry. Cut off the stem ends flush with the bottom of the mushroom and then thinly slice the mushrooms. Set aside.
Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir to combine. Turn heat to very low and cover the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the shallots are translucent. Add one tablespoon unsalted butter and the sliced mushrooms. Add another pinch of salt and a twist of the pepper mill. Keep on low heat, cover the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the mushrooms have exuded their juices. Remove cover and add the wine, Madeira or Sherry if using. Add a sprig of fresh thyme. Cook until reduced by half the amount of liquid.
Remove pan from heat and set aside.
NOTE: The sauteed mushrooms will add a rich color and a layer of flavor to the finished sauce. They will be strained out…so you’ll have the smooth turkey gravy you remember!
Bring the turkey stock to a simmer and set aside. Add two sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 sprig of fresh sage and ½ sprig of fresh rosemary. Let the herbs steep in the stock.
Make the roux. Choose a 3-4-quart, non-reactive saucepan. (An aluminum pan may discolor the sauce.)
Melt the butter in the saucepan. Slide pan off the heat and add the flour. Whisk until combined and smooth. Put the pan back on the heat and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until roux has thickened slightly and has taken on just a bit of color. The operative words here are: stir constantly over low heat. And make sure you get into the corner/edges of the pan.
Make the gravy. Slide pan off the heat again. Slowly add the heated stock to the cooked roux. One half cup ladle at a time. Whisk constantly to dissolve the roux into the liquid. Put pan back on heat and start again on low heat. Whisk constantly, making sure you get into the edges/sides of the pan. Whisk until thickened and/or has come up to a simmer. Add the cooked mushroom-wine mixture. Stir to combine. Add more fresh herbs: 1-2 sprigs of fresh sage leaf, 1 sprig fresh thyme and ½ sprig fresh rosemary. (Rosemary is the most assertive in flavor, so use less!)
Cook the sauce, on a very low simmer, for 20-25 minutes. Stir often. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt & fresh cracked pepper. When satisfied with flavor and texture, strain the sauce pressing down on the mushrooms to extract as much liquid as possible. Strain out the fresh herb stems as well.
NOTE: You, the cook, control the texture of the sauce by cooking and reducing the liquid. The finished sauce should ‘coat the back of a spoon’.
Let sauce cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Sauce can be held in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freeze if making further in advance.