8 Biggest Thanksgiving Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)
Mistake 7: Not using your pan drippings!
Besides carving the turkey and worrying about dry meat, gravy is the other area that less-experienced Thanksgiving cooks are afraid of. But that’s nonsense! I grew up watching my mom make a simple pan gravy every single Thanksgiving and I never once even saw her consult a recipe or use a measuring cup. It’s just that simple. Sure, you can make something fancy or sophisticated with added booze, wine, herbs, seasonings and what not. But the secret to any really good gravy is those fabulous pan drippings. This is where all the flavor comes from. (There’s absolutely no need for bottled gravy, Kitchen Bouquet or any other trick.) At its most basic, here’s the formula: scrape everything out of your pan, let the fat separate, pour off the fat, and return the now-defatted pan drippings to the pan. Now heat the roasting pan on your burners, add a couple cups of turkey or chicken stock, let it come to a boil, slowly drizzle in a slurry of water (or broth) and flour as you whisk. My mom used to just throw a bunch of water and flour into a jar, shake it up, then add a little bit at a time, whisking and letting it bubble until it was the right consistency. Here’s a step-by-step gravy-making technique and delicious gravy recipes to get you started.