Leftover Turkey in Gravy

After a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the mountain of leftovers, especially the turkey. Don’t fret; leftover turkey provides a fantastic opportunity to create new and exciting dishes for days to come.

One such dish is the mouth-watering Leftover Turkey in Gravy recipe, transforming your Thanksgiving turkey into a whole new experience for you and your family.

Preparing this delightful dish not only breathes new life into your Thanksgiving leftovers, but it also continues the tradition of enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with your loved ones. This comforting recipe incorporates succulent turkey, rich homemade gravy, and an assortment of your favorite side dishes, from dinner rolls to a steaming bowl of mashed potatoes.

Ready to turn your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers into a scrumptious and memorable meal? Let’s dive into the Leftover Turkey in Gravy recipe – a perfect way to extend the joy of Thanksgiving dinner, reduce waste, and treat your taste buds to a new spin on a classic favorite.

Basic Components of Leftover Turkey Gravy

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Understanding the Role of Turkey Drippings

To create a flavorful turkey gravy, turkey drippings are essential. These are the juices and fat released by the roast turkey during cooking. To collect them, simply pour the liquid from the roasting pan through a strainer, and discard any solids. The drippings not only add a rich, savory flavor to your gravy but also contribute to its texture.

Importance of Broth and Stock

In addition to turkey drippings, an essential component of any good gravy is the liquid – typically a broth or stock. You can use homemade or store-bought chicken broth, or even just water, but keep in mind that this choice will impact your gravy’s taste. Homemade stock or broth is usually the best option, as it allows you to control the flavor and sodium content. You can even opt for a mix of turkey drippings, stock, and water for a balanced taste.

Leftover Gravy Liquid Components
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1. Turkey Drippings
2. Chicken or Turkey Broth/Stock
3. Water (optionally mixed with stock)

Role of Butter and Flour in Making Roux

To thicken your leftover turkey gravy, you will need to make a roux by melting butter and combining it with flour. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and once it’s fully melted, gradually whisk in the flour. This mixture will become the base for your gravy. Cook the roux for a few minutes, allowing it to turn golden brown and bubbly as it thickens.

It is important to continuously whisk during this process to prevent lumps. The roux will not only thicken your gravy but also contribute to its velvety texture. Lastly, season your gravy with salt, pepper, and any desired aromatics such as onion and pepper.

Preparation and Cooking Process

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Tools for Preparation

To create a delicious leftover turkey in gravy recipe, gather the following tools:

  • A large skillet or saucepan
  • A whisk or wooden spoon
  • A cutting board and knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • A fine mesh strainer

Steps in Gravy Making

  1. Giblet Stock: Remove giblets from the turkey, if available. Simmer giblets in a saucepan with 4 cups of water for about 1 hour. Strain the liquid and reserve for the gravy.
  2. Pan Drippings: Pour drippings from your roasted turkey into a large measuring cup or bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the fat to separate from the juices.
  3. Flavor Base: Heat a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the separated turkey fat. Then, sauté diced onion, garlic, and your choice of herbs such as parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary in the fat for about 5 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Brown Gravy: Add 1/4 cup of flour to the skillet, whisking constantly to combine with the sautéed vegetables and fat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then slowly add the pan drippings and 2 cups of the giblet stock or turkey stock. Whisk the mixture together to avoid lumps.
  5. Simmer and Season: Bring gravy to a simmer and allow it to cook for 20-30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Chop your leftover turkey into bite-sized pieces and add them to the gravy. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Adjusting the Texture and Taste

To achieve your desired texture and taste in the leftover turkey gravy, consider these options:

  • Texture: If the gravy is too thin, create a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Stir the slurry into the gravy and let it simmer until thickened. If the gravy is too thick, add more turkey stock or water to reach the desired consistency.
  • Taste: For a richer, creamier gravy, add 1/4 cup of milk or heavy cream. For a more intense flavor, mix in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
  • Variations: To make a mushroom gravy, sauté sliced mushrooms with the onions and herbs. You can also add cooked giblets back into the giblet gravy if you prefer.

Important Tips

  • Use a skillet or saucepan with a heavy bottom to distribute heat evenly and prevent the gravy from burning.
  • For a smoother gravy, use a fine mesh strainer to remove any solid bits before adding the pan drippings and stock.
  • If the pan drippings are overly greasy, cut them with water or turkey stock to reduce the fat content.
  • Taste your gravy frequently, and adjust seasoning as needed to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.

Serving and Storage Tips

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Reheating Leftover Gravy

When it comes to reheating your leftover turkey in gravy, it’s essential to do so properly in order to maintain both the quality and safety of the dish. To begin, skim off any solidified fat from the surface of the gravy using a fat separator or a spoon. This will prevent an overly greasy texture when reheated.

Next, pour the gravy into a saucepan and slowly heat over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. If the gravy has become too thick, feel free to thin it out with a small amount of broth or water until it reaches your desired consistency. To ensure the best taste, pass the reheated gravy through a fine-mesh sieve prior to serving. This will catch and remove any lumpy bits that may have formed during storage.

When serving, don’t forget to use a warmed gravy boat for an elevated dining experience. This not only keeps the gravy at an ideal temperature but also adds a classic touch to your meal presentation.

Freezing Techniques for Longer Storage

If you happen to have an abundance of leftover turkey in gravy and want to store it for a more extended period, freezing it is an excellent option. However, it’s crucial to follow proper freezing techniques to retain the quality of the dish.

  1. Cool the gravy: Allow the leftover gravy to cool to room temperature before attempting to freeze, as placing hot gravy in the freezer can lower the overall temperature and affect other stored items.
  2. Separate into portions: Divide the gravy into smaller, meal-sized portions to make it easier to thaw and reheat later. This also prevents wasting any unused gravy.
  3. Transfer to freezer-safe containers: Place the portions of gravy in freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving some space at the top to allow for expansion as the gravy freezes. Make sure to seal the containers or bags tightly to prevent leakage.
  4. Label the containers: Label each container with the contents and date, so you know when it was stored and can easily plan your future meals.

To properly thaw frozen gravy, transfer the container to the refrigerator and allow it to defrost overnight. For a quicker option, you can also use the defrost setting on your microwave.

Remember that when it comes to freezing and reheating your leftover turkey in gravy, following these simple tips will ensure that your dish remains flavorful and safe to consume.

Best Accompaniments for Turkey Gravy

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Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing: Turkey gravy pairs exceptionally well with creamy mashed potatoes and stuffing. The richness of the gravy adds a delightful depth of flavor to these classic side dishes.

Cranberry Sauce: Don’t forget to add a dollop of tangy cranberry sauce to your plate. It perfectly balances the savoriness of the turkey gravy.

Green Bean Casserole and Brussels Sprouts: Enhance your vegetables with this luxurious gravy. A drizzle of turkey gravy over your green bean casserole or roasted brussels sprouts adds a deliciously satisfying note to these flavorful sides.

Side DishGoes Well with Turkey Gravy
Sweet Potato CasseroleYes
CornbreadYes
Scalloped PotatoesYes
Dinner RollsYes

For a true comfort food experience, combine your leftover turkey and gravy into mouthwatering dishes like:

  • Turkey Tetrazzini: Combine leftover turkey with pasta, mixed with your gravy and bake in the oven for a delicious, flavorful dish.
  • Shepherd’s Pie: Combine your leftover turkey and gravy with veggies, top with creamy mashed potatoes, and bake for a hearty meal.
  • Empanadas: Fill pastry dough with your turkey in gravy, fold it over, and bake or fry for a tasty, portable treat.
  • Turkey Noodle Soup: Add chicken stock to your gravy, mix in your leftover turkey and noodles for a warming turkey noodle soup.

By pairing your turkey gravy with these diverse dishes, you’ll enjoy a well-rounded meal that highlights the best flavors of your Thanksgiving feast.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the best way to reheat leftover turkey in gravy?

To reheat leftover turkey in gravy, place the turkey and gravy together in a saucepan and heat gently over low heat, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating. If the gravy is too thick, you can add a few tablespoons of water or broth to thin it out. Once the turkey is heated through, serve immediately.

How can I make a delicious casserole using leftover turkey and gravy?

A simple and delicious casserole using leftover turkey and gravy can be made by layering cooked and chopped turkey, your favorite vegetables (such as broccoli, peas, or carrots), and leftover gravy in a baking dish. Top with a layer of cooked rice or mashed potatoes, sprinkle with cheese, and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

What are some creative sandwich ideas using shredded turkey in gravy?

For a unique and flavorful sandwich, try shredded turkey in gravy on a crusty roll, topped with coleslaw or thinly sliced red onion and arugula. Alternatively, you can use leftover turkey in gravy to make a hot open-faced sandwich by toasting a slice of bread, topping it with turkey and gravy, and melting cheese under the broiler for a few minutes.

How to prepare mashed potatoes that will pair well with turkey in gravy?

To prepare mashed potatoes that will pair well with turkey in gravy, start by boiling peeled and chopped potatoes in a large pot of salted water until tender. Drain and mash the potatoes with a potato masher or ricer, then stir in warm heavy cream and melted butter to achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

What steps can I follow to make a slow cooker turkey and gravy dish?

To make a slow cooker turkey and gravy dish, begin by placing cooked and chopped leftover turkey, diced onion, carrots, celery, and minced garlic into your slow cooker. In a separate bowl, whisk together your leftover gravy with some chicken or turkey broth, then pour the liquid mixture over the turkey and vegetables. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Serve over cooked rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.

Can I incorporate leftover turkey in gravy into a shepherd’s pie recipe?

Yes, you can incorporate leftover turkey in gravy into a shepherd’s pie recipe. Simply replace the ground meat typically used in shepherd’s pie with your leftover turkey, and mix with gravy and cooked vegetables of your choice (such as peas, carrots, and corn). Spread the mixture in a baking dish, top with a layer of prepared mashed potatoes, and bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and the filling is bubbly.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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