Thanksgiving Prep: Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Pie Crusts

In case anyone is looking for step by step instructions, I am posting all of these today . First the gravy. I fill a big pot with turkeys parts; use whichever pieces you wish. I used legs, thighs and necks. Add 8 stalks of celery, 2 large onions cut in half, 4 bay leaves, several stems of rosemary, 8 carrots, a sprinkling of salt and some black peppercorns. Fill almost to the top with water.

Bring the pot to a boil and then turn the heat down and let it simmer until the meat is falling off the bones. I always make my gravy a couple days in advance of Thanksgiving.

After a couple hours the pot will look like this. Not very attractive but it will produce tasty gravy!

Strain all the solids and reserve the stock.

In a heavy pot melt 4 T. butter with 1/2 c. oil.

Add 8 T. flour.

Whisk the flour into the oil.

Keep whisking the roux over medium high heat.

When the roux is the color you want your gravy to be, it is ready. Carefully add the stock to the roux. It will sputter and spit so wear long sleeves. Allow this to simmer over medium heat.

I always add a container of demi glace for added flavor. You could use some bouillon if you want.

Sprinkle in some freshly cracked black pepper.

Continue to simmer until it thickens slightly. If your gravy is too thick, thin it with more stock.

If your gravy is too thin (which mine was) melt a couple tablespoons of butter and mix this with 3 tablespoons of flour.

Whisk the mix into the gravy and cook until it is the right consistency. When you make this in advance and refrigerate it you can easily skim the fat off once it has cooled.

This made about 3 quarts of gravy. I always make extra to use as a soup base for the turkey soup I make from leftovers. I will post that recipe after thanksgiving.

I have been making this cranberry sauce for 25 years. I think it is the best I have ever tasted.

Measure 2 cups of sugar into a heavy pot.

Add 1 cup of water.

Add 1 cup of port.

Add 4 star anise.

And 2 cinnamon sticks.

Bring this mixture to a boil.

Then add two bags of fresh cranberries or 6 cups.

Zest and juice a large orange.

The cranberries will begin to pop.

Stir in the orange juice.

Then add the zest.

The sauce will thicken as it sits. Refrigerate until ready to use. Remove the anise and cinnamon sticks just before serving.

This is the way I make my pie crusts. It is efficient and neat. I always make a pate' brise for all of my pies.

Put 2 1/2 cups of flour in your food processor. Add 1 tsp. of salt.

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Cube 2 stick of unsalted COLD butter.

Dump the butter into the bowl. Pulse a few times.

As you pulse the dough add 6 and 1/2 tablespoons of ice cold water.

The dough will still be crumbly but will hold it's shape against the sides of the bowl.

Put a jumbo ziplock bag over the bowl and dump the contents into the bag.

Push the dough into the corner and squeeze it into a ball.

The let the dough fall back to the center of the bag.

Press the dough down to form a round.

Pull the edges of the bag around the dough. Press the edges together until the dough forms a disk.

With the dough still inside the bag, roll the dough out.

When it is rolled to the desired thickness, zip the bag and refrigerate until ready to use.

Each bag has enough dough for a 2 crust pie. I always make extras and freeze them.

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faerwillow said…
~i make the same cranberry relish!!! last year i tried a bit of tiwst on this recipe it called for adding a bit of black so...your gravy looks deliciously amazing...wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday to be had...much l♥ve and light upon you~
Teresa said…
Love your method of mixing and prepping the pie crust. I have my grandmother's recipe, and she did not have a food processor--cutting it in with a knife is how I did it, which is way too much work. I will certainly try this! Thanks.
Lois said…
Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!
I love cranberry sauce. Yours sounds delicious!
I'm not telling how I already had the gravy recipe, but I will tell you if you make it this will be the last recipe you ever use for Turkey Gravy. I'm glad it makes a lot. My brother stopped by while it was cooking and probably ate a pint with left over No Knead Bread before it was actually finished cooking. I could have this and rolls and call it Thanksgiving dinner.
Anonymous said…
The top photo made me hungry :-) Looks delicious!

I don´t think I´ve ever has tasted cranberries but I guess they taste much the same as lingonberries. But I don´t think we have either cinnamon nor anise when we make lingonberry jam (something we swedes have to almost anything :-) ) Perhaps I should try that next time?

Have a great day now!
Birgit said…
Last night I visited my mom's. I told her that I would really like to look over your shoulder while you cook for a couple of days. You are such an inspiring cook -- I could learn so much from you. :)

Thanks for sharing all those picture and recipes and ideas. You rock, Joyce! :)

Guillaume said…
I should really celebrate Thanksgiving.
Pricilla said…
I love when cranberries pop.
It's just the two of us tomorrow. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.
I'll be making a pumpkin pie with goat's milk ice cream for our dessert.
Ok, port is going into my cranberries the next time I make them and we'll just drink the rest of the bottle while we wait! :)
And using a ziplock bag for the crust?...duh..why didn't I think of that instead of having dough over the entire kitchen!

Gobble Gobble!!
SpiritWings said…
Homemade cranberry sauce is the best!!! (going to keep your receipe to give it a try!!)
I will have to give the pie in a plastic bag a try. It's a great idea!! Less mess.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
ohiofarmgirl said…
What a great step by step lesson. I have never had any type of cranberry sauce but my mouth started to water when I read your recipe. I may just try it for Christmas. Blessings for Thanksgiving!
Ann said…
That cranberry sauce looks so delicious. I'm ready to start eating now, I don't know if I can wait till tomorrow :)
Have a happy Thanksgiving
Oh, yum. Hope you have a wonderful Holiday! ♥
Everything looks amazing! I actually made your cranberry orange corn cake today. It looks amazing - can't wait to try it tomorrow. Thanks - and I hope you have a wonderful holiday tomorrow. Theresa
Incipient Wings said…
Have a wonderful day and thank you for sharing all your amazing recipes.
Pallas Renatus said…
I didn't come across this in time to try your wonderfully-delicious-looking gravy recipe, but dear lord I can't wait to try it for Christmas!
Rosemary said…
Happy Thanksgiving to you from Canada
Mary said…
You are ready for the feast and then some. This was a great post. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Blessings...Mary
Mystica said…
Thank you for the gravy tutorial! I never knew what to do when it was too thin so special thanks for that tip. Very few people will have turkey for Christmas we normally do chicken so this is very useful for me.
I learn more about cooking from you than anyone I have ever known. Including my family members!
:) Yeah..even including Grandma.
Mina said…
You always have the most amazing recipes and this set is no exception. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.
The Jammie Girl said…
Thank you SO MUCH! My Aunt Beverly sent me your gravy recipe and I lopped the legs off my brining turkey Thursday morning and made it. This was my first EVER successful gravy, and I just had such a good feeling about it before I even started that I didn't even buy jars of "back-up gravy"! My family practically licked the gravy boat clean (which was sad news for the dog)!