If making gravy at the last minute on Thanksgiving Day gives you heart palpatations, make the gravy in advance.
Since you won't have the drippings from the big bird to flavor the stock for your gravy, you will need to create some by roasting either turkey wings or drumsticks (or a combo). The roasted meat will provide more flavor for the stock than if you were to make the stock from raw turkey.
Makes about 8 cups.
Note: This will provide enough stock for 8 cups of gravy or as a base for soup. If you are making this post-Thanksgiving and have a turkey carcass to use, there's no need to roast the additional turkey parts. Instead, begin by placing the carcass in the water.
4 turkey parts (drumsticks or wings, or both)
2 onions, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut in large pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into large pieces
2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Place turkey in roasting pan and roast until exterior is a dark, mahagony color, about 45 minutes, turning meat at least once.
Add the turkey with its fat and juices to a stockpot; cover all with water (about 10 cups). Add the onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns.
Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or two. Strain and discard turkey, bay leaves and vegetables (all their flavor is gone at this point). Place stock in a bowl and refrigerate; cover when cool.
When ready to use stock, skim off the layer of fat that has accummulated at the top and discard. Proceed with gravy recipe -- or make soup from it.
Variation: When reheating the gravy on Thanksgiving Day, add some pan drippings from the turkey to perk up the flavor. Or add some of the leftover water from boiling potatoes for the big meal, which adds another layer of flavor.