Rich Brown Gravy (from Dark Roux)

by Cat, November 2011 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also:  Roasting a BirdTurkey Croquettes (2 versions)Sherry-Mushroom Gravy

Rich, Dark Gravy

Rich, Dark Gravy

According to Wikipedia, “Gravy is a sauce, made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking”

Making gravy is an art.  So much so, that many cooks buy canned gravy or powdered gravy mixes. This is especially true in many restaurants. But these products are loaded with things you don’t really want to put in your body, like MSG, gums, artificial flavors, and such. So if you are like me in wanting to avoid processed foods, then knowing how to make a good rich gravy without lumps is a real boon.

If you’re doing keto, traditional gravies thickened with starchy flour is not for you. However, you can follow the same recipes but substitute coconut flour for the starchy stuff; however, coconut flour may not be able to make a dark roux). See Thickening Sauces or Mercola’s recipe (2) for more.

Rich Brown Gravy (from Dark Roux)

In the November-December 2004 issue of Cooks Illustrated magazine, they presented a master recipe for turkey gravy, using a browned roux.  It takes a little work and patience, but is well worth the effort to do it right.  Also, if you follow their instructions, you will not have any lumps in your gravy.

This method can be applied to other gravies as well.  For example, beef gravy, using Beef Stock in place of Chicken Stock. [Speaking of which, make your own stocks, as canned/packaged broths/stocks are loaded with artificial ingredients and MSG. See Soups and Stocks Menu for recipes.]  You can also make a brown gravy using vegetable broth.  The key is the browning of the flour/butter roux.

For light colored cream or country gravies, a similar approach would be used, except that you would not brown the roux; rather simply cook it for just a few minutes, before adding the liquid.

I prefer to use homemade broth or stock, rather than commercial broths, because I wish to avoid many of the added ingredients used in commercial broths (MSG being the main culprit).

Roast Turkey Gravy

This recipe and method for Rich Turkey Gravy is from Cooks Illustrated magazine.  To view the recipe and illustrations, refer to Cooks Illustrated: Rich Turkey Gravy (a pdf file).  Another great resource is the video on Making Sauces on the Smartfix website.

Process Overview:

  1. Make the enriched broth or stock (1 – 2 days in advance).  See Process for Enriched Stock, below.
  2. Prepare the roux and thicken the broth/stock (while bird is roasting, or one day in advance).  See process for Roux, below.
  3. Roast the bird.  See suggestions for increasing flavor of the drippings, below.
  4. De-glaze the roasting pan, then add drippings to the gravy (while roasted bird rests before carving). See Process for de-glazing, below.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Enriched Stock:
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Reserved turkey (or chicken) giblets & neck
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and chopped
  • 4 cups Chicken or turkey broth/stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 parsley sprigs
  • Roux and Gravy:
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup unbleached flour
  • drippings from roast bird
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Unrefined sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Roasting the bird (in addition to roast poultry recipe):
  • 1 cup each onion, carrots and celery;  parsnips can also be added.
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary.
  • 1 cup water
  • Equipment:
  • Large saucepan, saucier, or stock pot
  • Whisk


  1. Enriched broth/stock: Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat.  Brown giblets and neck for 5 minutes.  Add chopped onion and cook for 3 minutes.  Cover and cook over low heat (simmer) for 20 minutes.
  2. Add chicken or turkey broth/stock and water.  Scrape pan bottom, and bring to boil.  Add herbs and simmer, skimming foam from surface, for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain broth using fine-mesh strainer.  Reserve and dice heart and gizzard (and liver, if desired).  Toss neck (or feed it to a pet).  Refrigerate broth and diced giblets separately until ready to use.
  4.  Roux: Melt butter in saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until nutty brown in color and fragrant, 10 – 15 minutes.
  5. Bring enriched broth/stock to a simmer; pour off 1 cup (to reserve for deglazing the pan), then gradually add remaining broth to roux in saucepan, whisking vigorously and constantly to avoid lumps.
  6. Simmer gravy until thickened, about 30 minutes; stir it occasionally and skim any scum from the surface with a spoon. Set it aside, covered, until bird is done roasting.
  7. Roast the Bird: (See Roasting a Bird for recipe). To enhance the flavor of the gravy, add the onion, carrots, celery, optional parsnips, thyme or rosemary and water  to the roasting pan when ready to roast the bird.
  8. When it has reached temperature, remove bird from roasting pan, and place on carving board to restwhile turkey rests before carving.
  9. Strain and defat pan drippings: Pour drippings from roasting pan through mesh strainer set over measuring cup.  Let liquid settle until fat rises to top.  Return any veggies in strainer to roasting pan.
  10. Defat drippings:  Tilt measuring cup, and use a wide, shallow soup spoon to skim fat off surface.  Reserve defatted drippings.
  11. Return gravy (from step 6) to saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
  12. De-glaze the roasting pan:  Place roasting pan (with veggies) over two burners at medium-high heat.  Add wine and reserved 1 cup of broth/stock.  Scrape up browned bits in pan.  Boil until liquid reduces by half, 5 minutes.
  13. Strain deglazing liquid into simmering gravy, pressing on solids to extract all liquid.  Add defatted drippings to taste.  Stir in reserved giblets and serve.


  1. Mastering Turkey Gravy, by Sean Lawler, from Cooks Illustrated, Nov-Dec 2004 issue
  2. Keto-Gravy recipe:

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