Here Are 4 Ways to Rescue Thanksgiving Gravy

published Nov 20, 2014
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

A good gravy is really what ties all the elements on the Thanksgiving plate together. It can rescue dry turkey, liven up mashed potatoes, and perk up bland stuffing, so there’s a lot riding on the gravy turning out well. Here are four tips to help you rescue a gravy that isn’t quite perfect!

Here are the four typical problems you can encounter when making turkey gravy and solutions for fixing them!

1. It’s lumpy.

  • The problem: You forgot to whisk the gravy well and now it’s lumpy and no extra whisking seems to be working to get the pesky lumps out.
  • The solution: Strain it through a fine-mesh strainer and the lumps will magically disappear. Or blend it in a food processor or blender, or with a stick blender, until smooth.
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

2. It’s bland.

  • The problem: The gravy just doesn’t taste like much and isn’t very interesting.
  • The solution: The first thing you should try is adding a little more salt, as salt helps bring out the inherent flavors of the gravy that you didn’t taste before. If that doesn’t work, add umami (savory)-heavy condiments like soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. You can also try simmering the gravy with some sautéed onions or mushrooms for added depth of flavor. A little bit of browned butter can also add a toasty, nutty flavor.

3. It’s too thick.

  • The problem: The gravy is a bit like wallpaper paste and not very pourable.
  • The solution: Whisk in boxed chicken broth until you’ve reached the right consistency, then remember to taste and re-season the gravy again as needed.

4. It’s too thin.

  • The problem: The gravy is too thin and just runs off whatever you pour it on.
  • The solution: Gravy is usually thickened by one of these two methods: make a cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and cold water or stock) or make a paste out of equal parts softened butter and flour (called a beurre manié in French). Whisk in a little the slurry or the butter and flour paste and bring to a simmer, where it will start to thicken the gravy. Whisk in more slurry or paste as needed until you reach the right consistency. For an unconventional technique, try thickening gravy with stuffing for a unique texture and unbeatable Thanksgiving flavor!