Thanksgiving Preparations

Today, Rachael and I started our Thanksgiving cooking. We made Ray’s honey-sweetened cranberry sauce (recipe appeared in yesterday’s blog), cooked two pumpkins and pureed the pulp for pumpkin pies, and made a delectable gravy that is a family favorite from a recipe furnished by The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. The great thing about both the cranberry sauce and the gravy is that they only get better over the next few days. We froze the pumpkin and will make the pies a bit closer to Thanksgiving.

The gravy is very easy to make. The total preparation/cook time is only about thirty minutes and the yield is around three cups of gravy. The key to the gravy is to slowly cook the onions in the butter under low heat for 12-15 minutes. This will make your kitchen smell wonderful and will produce a depth of flavor that makes this very easy gravy recipe a standout. One word of caution: if you use chicken bouillon, then reduce the amount of salt that is called for. Otherwise, your gravy will turn out saltier than you might like.

Here’s the recipe. My family requests this gravy every year. A little goes a long way because it’s so rich and it’s wonderful on everything that you can think of on your Thanksgiving plate.

Let me know if you give it a try. I’d love to hear.

Homemade Gravy


1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken stock to make 2 cups, heated

1 tablespoon cream, optional

1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy, optional

1 tablespoon white wine, optional


  1. In a large skillet, cook the butter and onions over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Don’t rush this step; it makes all the difference when the onions are well-cooked.
  2. Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock mixture (and Cognac, if desired) and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened. Add the wine and cream, if desired. Season, to taste, and serve.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. judyalter says:

    Sounds wonderful, and I will pass along to daughter-in-law for Thanksgiving and daughter for Christmas. But in my family we always wanted the gravy more brown–I’d add a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet to this.

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