Don't Make Turkey Gravy, Make Turkey Jus

Step aside, gravy. For Thanksgiving this year, we’re going all in for turkey jus.

Turkey jus
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Dear gravy, take this Thanksgiving off. It’s not you; it’s me. I’ve been chasing a meatier, more deeply savory sauce for turkey, a lip-smacking jus so pure and unadulterated that your thickening agents of flour and fat would only diminish its flavor.

My turkey jus starts a couple of days before the feast by browning turkey wings and necks over a bed of aromatic vegetables in a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, a pan low-slung enough to aid in caramelization yet tall enough to capture the valuable juices that drip and concentrate on the bottom. After deglazing the pan with wine and lovingly scraping up every last browned bit, two rounds of simmering and straining produce a two-for-one special: the first a gelatinous brown stock to be reduced down into one quart of the aforementioned jus, the second a quart of blond turkey stock meant for flavoring mashed potatoes or stuffing.

It’s okay, gravy. We can still be friends. See you around for Sunday supper?

Turkey French Dips

I developed the Really Good Turkey Jus recipe with these killer day-two sandwiches in mind. They’re inspired by French dips and the warm bollito sandwiches at the San Lorenzo Market in Florence, Italy, where meat bobs in flavorful broth before it’s piled high on slabs of crusty bread. Here’s how my leftovers sandwich goes down: Slowly warm sliced roast turkey gently in leftover turkey jus mixed with any reserved drippings from the turkey roasting pan. Split and toast ciabatta rolls, dip the cut sides in the warm jus, slather with mayo and Dijon, then pile on the turkey. Add thinly sliced onions (trust me on this) and something herbaceous and bound by olive oil, like a parsley salsa verde or pesto. Serve with a sidecar of jus for dipping—and go to town.

Turkey jus
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
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