From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you’re making.

  • – the roasting pan, turkey neck, and vegetables from our Basics: Roasted Turkey
  • – a flat spatula
  • – a mesh strainer
  • – 1 small and 1 medium heatproof bowl
  • – a medium saucepan
  • – a whisk
  • – a cup of white wine or sherry
  • – 3/4 stick of butter
  • – 1/3 cup flour
  • – 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • – salt and pepper



  • 1. Pour off the excess drippings from the roasting pan into the small bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes for the fat to rise to the top, then skim the fat off with a spoon and discard.

    Step 1

  • 2. Place the roasting pan across two burners over medium heat. Put the onion and celery from inside the roasted turkey, along with the roasted turkey neck, in the pan. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a flat spatula.

    Step 2

  • 3. Add the wine or sherry while scraping the bottom of the pan, and simmer until reduced by half. Add the reserved drippings back into the pan. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the medium bowl and set aside. Discard the solids from the strainer.

    Step 3

  • 4. Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. When it foams, sprinkle the flour evenly over it.

    Step 4

  • 5. Whisk the flour and butter together and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture (known as a roux) turns the color of peanut butter, about seven minutes.

    Step 5

  • 6. While whisking continuously, slowly add the chicken stock or broth and the reserved pan juices. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, being sure to whisk at the edges of the pan, until the gravy thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 3 cups. See more Thanksgiving Basics.

    Step 6

Illustrations by Bill Russell

See more articles