This classic gravy gets just a bit of kick from the bourbon, and the fresh sage perfectly complements the turkey and cornbread dressing. While most gravy recipes send you scrambling right before dinner service, this one can be made in advance since you don't have to rely on the pan drippings from a roasted bird. Just one more good reason to fry the turkey...
Recipe courtesy of Nealey Dozier
Bourbon Gravy
2 hr 50 min
10 min
2 cups
2 hr 50 min
10 min
2 cups


For the turkey stock:
  • Turkey neck(s) and giblets, not including the liver(s)
  • 1 carrot, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 sweet onion, preferably Vidalia, peeled and quartered
For the gravy:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onions, preferably Vidalia
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 4 cups turkey stock
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage


For the stock: In a medium saucepot, add enough water (approximately 5 cups) to cover the turkey neck, giblets, carrot, celery, and onion. Bring the water to a boil; reduce heat and simmer on low, skimming the top occasionally for any foam. Cook the stock for at least one hour and up to two hours. Discard the turkey pieces and vegetables and strain the stock through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into another bowl. Strain again, if desired. 

For the gravy: In a wide pot or skillet (just deep enough to accommodate the stock), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bourbon and cook until nearly evaporated. Add the turkey stock and cornstarch and whisk vigorously until smooth.

Increase the heat to high and bring the gravy to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until it has reduced down and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the sage and cook for one more minute. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Turn off heat and keep warm until ready to serve.

Cook's Note

You can supplement with good-quality chicken stock if necessary.


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