Our Mom is famous for many of the dishes she makes. Her chicken noodle soup, her chili, her potato salad, her lemon meringue pie, her Christmas caramels… the list goes ON and ON.. but the thing she is very most famous for is her turkey gravy. It is perfect and she really is famous for it. If you know our mom, you know she makes a traditional Sunday dinner.. every. single. Sunday. When we were growing up, she would alternate weeks between roast and turkey.. so every-other week we had her turkey dinner and it was all of our favorites! We would come home from church and know we had a famous feast to look forward to.Turkey, gravy, rolls, corn… seriously, it was like Thanksgiving every-other week. We were beyond spoiled.
Don’t get me wrong, her roast and beef gravy are out of this world good… but her turkey dinners trumped it. They were (and still are) the best.
Any time I make it, I always have people BEGGING for the recipe. It is a tough one to give because it has never been written down before. It is all according to taste. I have made this so many times, I seriously just throw things in without even thinking about the right amounts. As a rule of thumb.. we always use ALL of the turkey drippings. Some people throw out all but a half cup… big mistake. We use it all. If it ends up making a ton of gravy, so be it. We will sop it up with our dinner rolls. Sometimes we run out of potatoes before we run out of gravy… that’s ok too. Use it to make chicken (or turkey) pot pies later on. It is just too good to throw out.
The main trick to this gravy is a good roasting pan (see picture below). This one is the one my mom always made her turkeys and roasts in — so all of us kids bought one. It is the Wagner Ware Magnalite… or as we call it.. “The Magic Pot”. We cook the turkey in this as well as the gravy. We do it all in this one roasting pan. However, we have also had success using a good, ceramic lined Dutch oven. Really, all you need a heavy-duty pan that will fit a turkey and has a lid.Ok onto the turkey recipe…. (and then I will get to the gravy)
I like to call this “Scarborough Fair” turkey.. because if you know the song, you know the herb mixture. Just 1 Tablespoon of each! I can’t help myself from singing the song when I make this. Gotta love Simon & Garfunkel!
- 1 turkey breast (or small, full turkey)
- 1/4 - 1/2 c. butter
- 1 Tbsp. parsley
- 1 Tbsp. sage
- 1 Tbsp. rosemary
- 1 Tbsp. thyme
- salt to taste (about 1/4-1/2 tsp.)
- Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Remember to use a good roasting pan (see above) or oven-friendly Dutch oven (one of those ceramic-lined ones). Remove any giblets or gravy packets included with turkey. Rinse turkey well, inside and out and pat dry (this is important.. you really want the butter to stick on there). Spray roasting pan with butter and place turkey in it. Melt butter and brush evenly over turkey. I like to make slits under the skin layer and brush butter up underneath the skin as well. Combine spices and rub over turkey (and under the skin layer). Add lid and cook according to turkey package directions.
Now.. on to the turkey gravy… did I mention that I love this stuff??? Be sure to serve this with our Mom’s mashed potatoes! YUM!
- Turkey drippings from turkey
- gravy packet (if included with turkey)
- 1-3 tsp. Wyler's chicken bouillon granules
- pepper, to taste
- 1-2 c. milk
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/3 c. water
- Leave drippings in roasting pan or dutch oven (remember to read above about roasting pans) and carefully place on your largest stovetop burner over medium heat. Remove any grease or fat from turkey drippings with wire mesh strainer or slotted spoon.
- If a gravy packet is included with your turkey add that to the drippings-- if not, no biggie.
- Whisk up any little browned bits that may have cooked to the roasting pan... these add extra yummy flavor. Bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in bouillon granules (start with 1 tsp and add more later if it needs it) and pepper, to taste, then add milk (depending on how much gravy you want-- we like LOTS of gravy so she usually adds about 2 c. of milk). Add more bouillon if needed for flavor. Keep tasting it as you add bouillon until you get the flavor you want. Bring back to a simmer.
- In a separate, small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Whisking constantly, slowly add cornstarch mixture a little at a time until thickened. REMEMBER.... make the gravy slightly thinner than what you usually prefer because it will thicken a little as it cools.