The Boozy Addition That Will Enrich Your Gravy

Putting a big dinner on the table can be challenging, particularly when juggling all the last-minute details. Scrambling for stovetop space when trying to time everything to be done all at once is downright stressful. One must resort to an almost militaristic precision when strategizing big holiday meals, so a Thanksgiving dinner timeline, which delineates which tasks can be done ahead and which must be left for the end, is a great idea. A spread's finishing touches can amount to a flurry of activity at the end of a long day in the kitchen, and the one thing we tend to put off until the last minute is gravy. And unfortunately, gravy can't be done ahead of time if you plan to use the savory pan drippings to make it. 

So gravy is often the last thing to be finished, and as the cook whisks away over the stove, waiting for the sauce to thicken, side dishes like mashed potatoes are starting to cool. But we have a solution for your gravy woes, and though you'll have to save those drippings for another day, you won't be disappointed in the tradeoff. Better gravy, made ahead? Sign us up!

Two secret weapons for flavorful gravy

The Washington Post's solution to your last-minute gravy blues is to, well, not make it last minute. Instead, they suggest making it ahead of time, even well ahead of time — you can assemble, thicken, and perfect your gravy up to a week in advance of your big dinner. The savory base of the gravy is turkey stock (though chicken will do), and they include two additional secret ingredients. The first is dry vermouth, a fortified white wine infused with aromatics, making it more flavorful than regular white wine. This addition is perfect for finishing your gravy and adding layers of complexity you'll appreciate at the table. Because vermouth has additional flavors that other white wines don't, the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts recommends starting with small amounts and tasting as you go so the flavor doesn't overwhelm your dish. 

The second secret ingredient, which Bobby Flay also endorses for use in gravy, is Wondra Flour, a quick-mixing flour that dissolves seamlessly into sauces for thickening. When you've prepped your gravy, just refrigerate it until it's close to dinner time, reheat it on the stove, and you're set with gravy perfection in minutes.