Why It Works
- Butter and flour cooked together create a roux that thickens turkey stock.
- White wine gives this gravy a dry, fruity flavor with a little tanginess.
- Whole grain mustard adds texture, while a tablespoon of Dijon delivers mustardy bite.
- A little honey adds a sweet undertone that contrasts and balances the more prominent mustard flavor.
I thought I had covered all my gravy bases with the five different variations I had previously developed for Thanksgiving turkey. So when Kenji asked me to create another, I was left scratching my head, trying to awaken a brain that thought it was done coming up with new gravies. I inquired if he had anything in mind and got a quick reply: "A gravy designed to taste great with smoked turkey." In an instant, I had an answer.
I'm a lover of South Carolina-style mustard barbecue sauce with smoked poultry, so this seemed like a logical place to start. It just needed a little more sophistication to fit the theme of a holiday meal.
I started off by sautéing shallots in butter for a mellow oniony flavor. In lieu of the bright vinegar I'd normally add to a barbecue sauce, I used a glass of dry wine, which adds brightness and complexity without beating you over the head the way vinegar does. Next, a little turkey stock and, finally, I added in whole grain mustard. It provided a great look and texture, but it's a bit low on sharp mustard flavor. For that, I turned to a tablespoon of Dijon, which also ended up requiring just a touch of honey to balance out its bite.
The final gravy has a great rich turkey flavor. The mustards certainly add a strong hit of heat, but it's still mild enough for anyone at the table to enjoy. The wine delivers the right tanginess, while the honey adds just the slightest sweetness. Altogether, the gravy hints at its barbecue sauce inspiration, but is more apt to take its rightful place on the holiday table, pairing especially well with a smoked turkey, but ready to adorn just about any bird, from fried to roasted.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups turkey drippings or stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter over medium-high heat in medium saucepan. When foaming subsides, add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Whisk in flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden blonde, about 2 minutes.
Gradually add in turkey drippings or stock and wine in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 3 cups (710ml), 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in mustard and honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week, reheating over medium-low heat before serving.