It is four days until Thanksgiving! What am I doing now to prepare for the big day?
TODAY (or tomorrow): Make gravy. Because I am roasting my turkey in parts, unstuffed, I tried making this gravy last year, and it was liked by all of the diners at my house.
After the turkey was roasted, I deglazed the sheet pan upon which it had cooked with a bit of white wine, and added that to the pre-made gravy, along with the MSG and vinegar, heating it through.
3 lb. turkey and/or chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 heads of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 large shallots, unpeeled, halved
1 4″ piece ginger, scrubbed, thickly sliced
4 oz. crimini, shiitake, or white button mushrooms, torn into large pieces
2 tsp. black peppercorns, lightly crushed
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup amontillado sherry
Handful of parsley or parsley stems
6 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
2 tsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. MSG
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper (optional)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 450°. Toss wings in a large cast-iron skillet with 2 Tbsp. oil until coated. Roast, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and starting to crisp, 25–35 minutes.
Step 2: Remove wings from oven and add garlic, shallots, ginger, mushrooms, peppercorns, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to pan; toss to coat. Return to oven and roast, tossing halfway through, until wings are deeply browned and crisp and vegetables are browned, 30–40 minutes more.
Step 3: Meanwhile, mash together flour and butter in a small bowl with your fingers or a fork until homogenous. Set beurre manié aside.
Step 4: Remove skillet from oven and set on stovetop over medium-high heat. Add sherry and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until sherry is almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes.
Step 5: Scrape wings and aromatics into a medium pot and add parsley and stock. Bring to a low simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently, skimming fat from surface occasionally and turning wings so both sides get a chance to be submerged, until liquid is flavorful, mahogany in color, and reduced by about one-third, 30–40 minutes.
Step 6: Fish out wings; discard. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring glass; discard solids. Rinse out pot and pour turkey mixture back in. Bring to a simmer over medium. Whisking constantly, add reserved beurre manié and whisk until completely incorporated. Simmer, whisking often and skimming any foam from surface, until gravy is thick enough to coat a spoon, 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar and MSG. Taste gravy and season with salt and pepper if desired.
Step 7: Do Ahead: Gravy (without vinegar and MSG) can be made 5 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill. Reheat over medium until simmering, then add vinegar and MSG.
You can use dried herbs instead of the fresh, which are expensive and can be hard to find. I would recommend using fresh parsley.
For the rest of the week, here is what I will be doing:
Dry brine turkey.
Make cranberry sauce.
Make mashed potatoes.
Dry bread for dressing.
Peel and cut vegetables for roasting and bread dressing.
Prep and cook brussels sprouts.
Put the sparkling wine in the refrigerator to chill.
Make roasted root vegs.
Prepare Jiffy corn casserole.
Reheat mashed potatoes, gravy, brussels sprouts.
Heat rolls (I’m cheating and using Pepperidge Farm frozen french rolls)
Of course, there’s the cleaning, laundry, etc. to prepare for company, and making sure that the serving pieces are clean and ready for use. Sigh.