Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Celebrations! Making Chardonnay Gravy

Last year was the first Thanksgiving that I put together entirely on my own... in a new world known as "Wine Country, U.S.A."  I was under pressure - I had to impress "Johnny Depp" (who followed me out into this great unknown) and a college friend of mine (who is also an avid wine lover).  So I spent weeks reading, prepping, organizing, and planning the perfect Thanksgiving meal complete with wine pairings.  It was, as I'm sure most of you know, an undertaking.  And that's just talking about the meal!  I never sat to think how difficult pairing wines would be...  Needless to say, things worked out well: "Johnny Depp" is still hanging around and my friend helped us eat left overs for 4 days.  (Guess my cooking wasn't that bad after all...)  :)

Photo from Google Images

One switch I made to my mom's traditional Thanksgiving meal is that I made a wine-based gravy from a recipe I found on  It turned out to be a smashing hit!  Not only was it lighter in texture, flavor, and calories than traditional gravy, it also carried the Chardonnay taste.  This was perfect for matching our turkey with a nice California Chardonnay!  And it's a perfect way for you to incorporate wine into your cooking (rather than just drinking it as the day progresses...)!  Recipe is copied and follows (please note the serving quantity; if you are making gravy for 3 people, this is more than enough...):

Chardonnay Gravy 

Notes: Up to 1 day ahead, make broth through step 4; cool, cover, and chill. After turkey roasts, add its pan drippings and the wine to broth and bring to a boil, stirring. For a more delicate flavor, replace 1 cup wine with equal amount of broth.
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 quarts; 10 to 12 servings


  • Giblets and neck from a 16- to 20-pound turkey
  • 2  onions (about 3/4 lb. total), quartered
  • 2  carrots (about 1/2 lb. total), cut into chunks
  • 3/4  cup  sliced celery
  • 1  quart chicken broth
  • 1/2  teaspoon  pepper
  • 1/2  cup  cornstarch
  • Roast turkey (16 to 20 lb.)
  • 2  cups  Chardonnay
  • Salt


1. Rinse giblets and neck (chill liver airtight to add later, or save for other uses). Combine giblets, neck, onions, carrots, celery, and 1 cup broth in a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium heat; cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Turn heat to high and boil, uncovered, stirring often as liquid evaporates. Then stir giblets and vegetables until browned and sticking to pan, 12 to 15 minutes.
2. Add remaining 3 cups broth and pepper, stirring to scrape browned bits free. Cover pan. Simmer gently until gizzard is tender when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. If desired, add liver and cook 10 more minutes.
3. Pour broth through a fine strainer into a bowl. Discard vegetables. Pull meat off neck; finely chop neck meat and giblets. Measure broth and, if needed, add water to make 1 quart.
4. In the pan, smoothly blend cornstarch with 1/3 cup water. Add broth and finely chopped giblets. Stir over high heat until boiling, about 5 minutes.
5. After turkey is done, skim and discard fat from pan juices. Add Chardonnay to roasting pan and, over low heat, scrape browned bits free. Add wine mixture to gravy and bring to a boil, stirring. Add salt to taste.

Nutritional Information

119 (19% from fat)
2.5g (sat 0.9)

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