Recipe: Why-Is-It-So-Good Gravy


Why-Is-It-So-Good Gravy.

Bon Appetit/Photographer: Alex Lau; Food styling: Susie Theodorou; Prop styling: Kalen Kaminski
Bon Appetit

From Bon Appétit's November 2019 issue, a Thanksgiving recipe from Molly Baz and Carla Lalli Music:

"A make-ahead gravy that doesn't rely on turkey drippings or a roux. The gravy's depth of flavor comes from roasted poultry bones and – surprise! – a sprinkle of MSG, which has an umami-to-the-max effect. (Despite exaggerated fearmongering reports in the '70s, MSG is harmless in such small quantities; read more here.) 

"If you have the backbone from breaking down the turkey into pieces, use it in tandem with the wings."

Why-Is-It-So-Good Gravy

Recipe by Molly Baz and Carla Lalli Music 
Makes 8–10 servings


3 lb. turkey and/or chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 heads of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 large shallots, unpeeled, halved
1 4" piece ginger, scrubbed, thickly sliced
4 oz. crimini, shiitake, or white button mushrooms, torn into large pieces
2 tsp. black peppercorns, lightly crushed
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup amontillado sherry
Handful of parsley or parsley stems
6 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
2 tsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. MSG
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 450°. Toss wings in a large cast-iron skillet with 2 Tbsp. oil until coated. Roast, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and starting to crisp, 25–35 minutes.
  • Remove wings from oven and add garlic, shallots, ginger, mushrooms, peppercorns, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to pan; toss to coat. Return to oven and roast, tossing halfway through, until wings are deeply browned and crisp and vegetables are browned, 30–40 minutes more.
  • Meanwhile, mash together flour and butter in a small bowl with your fingers or a fork until homogenous. Set beurre manié aside.
  • Remove skillet from oven and set on stovetop over medium-high heat. Add sherry and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until sherry is almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes.
  • Scrape wings and aromatics into a medium pot and add parsley and stock. Bring to a low simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently, skimming fat from surface occasionally and turning wings so both sides get a chance to be submerged, until liquid is flavorful, mahogany in color, and reduced by about one-third, 30–40 minutes.
  • Fish out wings; discard. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring glass; discard solids. Rinse out pot and pour turkey mixture back in. Bring to a simmer over medium. Whisking constantly, add reserved beurre manié and whisk until completely incorporated. Simmer, whisking often and skimming any foam from surface, until gravy is thick enough to coat a spoon, 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar and MSG. Taste gravy and season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Do Ahead: Gravy (without vinegar and MSG) can be made 5 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill. Reheat over medium until simmering, then add vinegar and MSG.

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