Super hot take: Gravy is the most important part of Thanksgiving dinner.
At least that’s what Chef Richard Blais believes. And, honestly, it’s hard to disagree.
“I feel like turkey is a little overrated. The true star of the Thanksgiving table is the gravy,” Richard says. “Turkey is like the award-winning actor who gets all the accolades, but gravy is John C. Reilly. It’s in everything and it makes everything delicious.”
So what are the keys to making an outstanding gravy? Follow Richard’s tips below.
TIP #1: STOCK UP ON TURKEY PARTS
Richard suggests buying whatever turkey parts (wings, necks or smoked bones, etc.) that are available at your grocery store. You’ll want to roast the parts in the oven until they’re golden brown and then add them to a large pot with enough water to cover the pieces. To build flavor, add the aromatics of your choosing (onions, carrots, celery, herbs, salt).
TRY THIS: Richard Blais’ Herbed Turkey Stock
TIP #2: THINK AHEAD
Putting together an entire Thanksgiving dinner can be a bit overwhelming, so take the help where you can get it. Richard suggests making your stock a few weeks ahead and storing it in the freezer. If you’re really pressed for time, you can make it in the pressure cooker in just 20 minutes.
RELATED: Richard Blais’ Herbed Maple Gravy
TIP #3: SAVE YOUR PAN DRIPPINGS
Never, ever dump the pan dripping from your turkey. This is built-in flavor that will enhance your gravy.
TIP #4: PERFECT YOUR ROUX
Richard builds his roux by combining the turkey drippings with flour and cooking it until the flour tastes nutty. Then, he adds the stock to the roux. Richards says the roux should have the texture of “sand at low tide,” meaning wet and sludgy. You’ll then want to cook the mixture until the flour flavor is gone and the gravy is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
TIP #5: GET CREATIVE
Who says you have to stick with a simple gravy? Richard suggests mixing things up with a variety of ingredients, from maple syrup to miso paste.
TRY THIS: Richard Blais’ Flourless Almost-Instant Gravy (make with white miso paste)