Welcome back to Flawed yet Functional! Thanksgiving and Christmas are almost upon us, and I have another holiday recipe to share with you to take your holiday gathering over the top: the best turkey gravy recipe. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, AIP, AND it will knock your socks off. Let me show you how to make gravy from scratch!
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Ode to Gravy
I have loved gravy for as long as I can remember. Given a choice when I was young, I would only fill my plate with mashed potatoes and gravy at any gathering. Beef, chicken, or turkey gravy, I’m not picky. I’d eat it all! A few years ago, Dan and I learned how to make gravy from scratch following a more traditional method from fresh turkey stock and including the organ meat.
Wait! Don’t stop reading because I said organ meat!!
The organ meat is the key to the best turkey gravy! Now that I’ve made gravy this way, there’s no turning back. Any other gravy doesn’t have the richness and complexity. It’s truly the only way to make gravy.
Fresh Turkey Stock
Let’s get started learning how to make turkey gravy!
For the least amount of stress, begin the gravy process the morning of or night before your special event. Remove the neck, wing tips (they’ll burn anyway on the grill), extra neck fat, pope’s nose, and all organs (kidney, heart, gizzard) and place them in a stockpot (or slow cooker for the overnight method).
Add aromatics, herbs, and water then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4-6 hours or cook on low in a slow cooker overnight.
Making the stock serves three purposes:
- It provides delicious robust turkey stock to add to the gravy.
- Cooks the organ meat so it is ready to be added to the gravy.
- It allows you to use all the whole turkey!
- Gives you extra turkey stock for another day!
Keep the Drippings
Always use a roasting pan to catch any drippings as you cook the turkey. Sometimes, there are a lot of drippings and sometimes not, but no matter, use whatever is caught in the pan. Be sure to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the roasting pan when deglazing. Those bits are full of robust flavor!
How to Make Gravy from Drippings
For Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other gathering, you don’t need more dishes to clean up, right? Do yourself a favor, make the gravy right in the roasting pan. Yes, you can put your roasting pan on the stovetop. I give you permission. It will be ok. As long as you are using a real roasting pan, it will be sturdy enough to handle direct heat. We have this roasting pan by Calphalon and it has held up to gravy making for several years.
Deglaze the Roasting Pan
First, deglaze the pan by pouring half a cup of white wine (We love the Pinot Grigio from Bowers Harbor!) into the pan over medium-high heat. Use a metal whisk to scrape off all the browned bits and gather up the drippings.
Add Organ Meat
Remove the organs and neck from the stockpot or slow cooker. Mince the organ meat finely then add to roasting pan. Pick the meat off the neck bones, dice it, and add to the roasting pan. Pour enough turkey stock into the roasting pan to create the volume of gravy you desire.
Now it’s time to get the flavor where you like before thickening and serving.
Note: when thickening gravy using non-gluten or grain methods (i.e. no white flour), you thicken at the end once the volume and flavor are where you want it. When using a traditional roux, thickening is at the beginning and cornstarch goes in at the end like we are going to do in this recipe.
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. I like my gravy heavily peppered and slightly over-salted. Gravy will lose some of its potency when poured over the turkey or potatoes, so don’t feel bad for being a bit heavy-handed with the salt.
Thicken the Gravy
The final step is thickening the gravy. Use arrowroot powder as a thickener to make this gravy gluten and grain-free. These thickeners are tricky. Follow this method for perfect thickening every time.
- In a small container, mix 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and 1 tablespoon of water (water is approximate, just enough to dissolve the powder) until dissolved.
- Bring the gravy to a boil then remove from heat.
- Pour dissolved arrowroot powder over hot gravy, mix in immediately and thoroughly. The gravy will begin to thicken immediately.
- Continue adding arrowroot powder in this method, 1 tablespoon at a time until your desired level of thickness is reached.
- Caution: Do not over-thicken! The consistency will turn snot-like, very gross. Likely, you will only need 1 or 2 tablespoons.
- Note: You will not be able to achieve the same level of thickness as you would with white flour or cornstarch. Stop just before it turns into a snotty consistency, likely thinner than you would like, but it will still be delicious.
Look at that rich, delectable goodness! I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the best gravy in the whole world. The depth of flavor will blow your mind, and you’ll never return to store-bought gravy!
AIP-Friendly Ideas for Turkey Gravy
Delicious turkey gravy is just one part of your holiday meal. Check out these recipes below to completely adjust your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner to be AIP or Paleo compliant.
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
- Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Charcoal Grilled Turkey
- AIP Green Bean Casserole
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is! I just love gravy, and I think it just makes the holiday meal perfect. There’s no need to go without delicious gravy this year. Take some time to learn how to make gravy from scratch and wow your friends and family at your next holiday gathering!
How to Make Gravy from Scratch Without Gluten, Grains, or Dairy
Traditional gravy is rich in flavor and nutrients because it uses the organ meat, fresh stock, and the drippings from the turkey. Thickened with arrowroot powder, this gravy is Paleo and AIP compliant. Enjoy it today!
- 1 large onion quartered
- 2 stalks celery 3 inch sections
- 3 small carrots 2-3 inch sections
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 12 cups water
- turkey neck
- turkey organs (heart, kidneys, gizzard)
- other turkey parts: wing tips, pope’s nose, extra fat/skin
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1-3 cups turkey stock to desired volume
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-3 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
- 1-3 Tbsp. water
In a stock pot or slow cooker, combine onion, celery, carrots, rosemary, thyme, water, and all turkey parts (neck, organs, wing tips, pope’s nose, skin/fat). Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 4-6 hours or overnight in slow cooker on low.
Remove turkey from roasting pan and any whole aromatics/herbs (apple, lemon, herb sprigs). Place roasting pan on stove-top over medium heat. Pour 1/2 cup of dry white wine into hot pan and whisk vigorously to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Remove the neck and organs from stock pot (heart, kidneys, and gizzard). Remove meat from neck and mince finely with the rest of the organ meat.
Add minced meat to the roasting pan. Add enough turkey stock from stock pot to arrive at the desired volume of gravy.
Bring to a boil then taste. Add salt and pepper until gravy comes alive. I like mine slightly over-salted as the potency dissipates over meat and veggies.
In a small container, mix 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder with approximately 1 tablespoon of water until powder is dissolved.
Bring gravy to a boil then remove from heat. Pour dissolved arrowroot powder over gravy and mix immediately and thoroughly. Gravy will thicken immediately. Add more arrowroot powder, in the same manner, until desired thickness lever is reached, likely 1-2 tablespoons. Serve gravy hot with grilled turkey!