In terms of just food, no holiday is even close to Thanksgiving. It is hands down the best food holiday out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re with the same family members every year, or if you find yourself at a constantly evolving “Friendsgiving” each November, everyone is bringing their A game and preparing their best dish. And sometimes it’s hard to compete!
But there is one item that is frequently ignored and rarely perfect… gravy! I can’t tell you how many Thanksgiving feasts I’ve been to where the gravy was just some store-bought junk that left a lot to be desired. So why not be a hero and bring some amazing gravy to your Thanksgiving this year! And who better to tell you the secrets of great gravy that some of the most famous chefs in the world.
If we’re talking celebrity chefs, we might as well start with the man himself! But you might be surprised to learn that Ramsay’s gravy recipe is actually pretty basic. Start by simmering fresh tomatoes with stock, dry cider, onions, and bacon. Then, once the gravy has reduced and thickened, Ramsay adds his secret ingredient: chopped walnuts!
It may sound like a strange addition to a sauce, but that extra crunch can be a wonderful contrast to the softness of a good turkey.
For those who have been living under a rock for the last decade (or at least don’t really watch Food Network all that much), Ina Garten is the Barefoot Contessa herself. Well… she hosts the show Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. You get it.
Back to gravy… if you’re a big brandy or Cognac drinker, then you’re going to love Garten’s gravy recipe! She starts by soaking onions in a hefty amount of butter, and then adds the chicken stock, flour, salt, and pepper. Then things get really fun. She adds either brandy or Cognac and some white wine! Top it off with a tablespoon (or two) of heavy cream and you’ve got some delicious gravy on your hands that will have your family and friends singing your praise for weeks.
Alton Brown is Food Network royalty. He created and hosts Good Eats, and is also the host of Cutthroat Kitchen and Iron Chef America, along with other mini-series on the network. When it comes to gravy, he relies on one special ingredient that might surprise you… red wine! Many people would assume white wine is the more logical choice for gravy made with chicken stock, but Brown believes combining the stock with red wine helps to better pull all that juicy goodness from the turkey in the roasting pan.
But he reminds anyone that may be following his recipe that the grave will thicken over time and as you serve it, so make sure it’s thin and light when still in the pan.
GIADA DE LAURENTIIS
Giana De Laurentiis is another Food Network star thanks to her hit show Giada at Home and has also filled in as an occasional guest co-host on NBC’s Today. As far as gravy goes, Giada is sick and tired of the boring and bland gravy that we’ve all become far too comfortable with. So she’s been encouraging people to not be afraid of a little sophistication and decadence.
How exactly does she suggest bringing sophistication and decadence to gravy? One word: truffle! She covers her crispy truffled turkey with truffle butter, and then the gravy that collects below is treated with some truffle salt to bring out more of a hearty, earthy flavor. Sounds delicious!
Surprise, surprise, Tyler Florence is another Food Network star! He has hosted and presented on numerous shows over the years. As for his personal special gravy recipe, he just goes all out on the herbs and garlic. More specifically, the recipe calls for an entire head of garlic and plenty of parsley, thyme, and sage. Along with the classic ingredients of celery, carrots, and onion of course.