Here we are, right before Christmas and the spirit hasn’t quite found me yet. Oh, I know it’s coming. It will definitely happen. Maybe it just got buried under some of the snow. I thought I had found it while I was shoveling the other day, but then realized it wasn’t Christmas spirit I had struck, but rather a fire hydrant.
I remember one year I was living outside for Christmas and I was so certain Santa would be bringing tons of gifts, I wrote a sign asking him to please not land on my roof. I was petrified the reindeer would poke all kinds of holes in my tent with their hooves.
Anyway, I thought I would tell you the one ingredient to be sure you have on your list for Christmas dinner. Every year during the holiday season I get more requests for a gravy recipe than I get for all other requests for the rest of the year combined — or at least it seems like that many requests.
The one ingredient that I always use that really makes the gravy is cream sherry. After you sauté the mushrooms, add some sherry and let it reduce before you add the turkey stock. You can add a little more to taste at the end after you thicken the gravy if you want.
By the way, if you happen to be a vegetarian and want a little gravy for your potatoes and stuffing, just take some of the sautéed mushrooms after the sherry reduces and use your own separate pot, substituting vegetable stock for the turkey stock.
Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas.
1 qt. turkey stock left in the pan (or vegetable stock)
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 C cream sherry
2 sticks butter
4 oz. flour
1-2 T sage
1 T poultry seasoning
1 t rosemary
Salt and pepper
Make the gravy in the pan the turkey was cooked in. For a vegetarian gravy, use a separate pot and follow the same procedure.
Pour the fat off the top of the liquid in the pan before pouring it into a bowl. You can add chicken stock to make 1 quart if there is not enough liquid from cooking the turkey. Set the pan on the stove top and sauté the mushrooms in one stick of butter on medium high. I like lots of mushrooms, so I use 1 pound; you can use as much or as little as you want. Add 1 to 1½ cups of sherry once the mushrooms are cooked and let the liquid reduce by at least half. Add the liquid and half the sage, poultry seasoning and rosemary. Bring to a low boil.
Make a roux by melting half a stick of butter and adding 2 ounces of flour. Lightly cook the roux until it is starting to show a gold color and it smells nutty. Pour some of the stock into a separate bowl with as few mushrooms as possible and thicken this with a little of the roux. Pour the thickened stock back into your gravy and mix it in well so the entire batch becomes thicker. Repeat this process until you get the thickness you’re looking for. By thickening the gravy a little at a time in a separate bowl, you eliminate lumps.
Once you have the desired thickness, finish seasoning with the rest of the herbs and salt and pepper, as needed. Add more sherry, as well, if needed. How much seasoning you need will depend a lot on how you seasoned the turkey and how strong the stock is.