Liquid Gold Gravy

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Mike Sheerin, executive chef of Chicago’s Embeya restaurant, and the soon-to-come Packed dumpling house, has been making the mashed potatoes at his family’s Thanksgiving gatherings since he was six years old. “I had the unfortunate timing of catching my mother on the phone with one of her sisters in California,” Sheerin laughs, recounting that first mashed moment. “She was trying to mash the potatoes and talk on the phone at the same time—and this was before cordless phones.” Giving up on the effort, Mike’s mom handed him a towel, poured milk and butter in the hot potatoes, “And I went to town mashing them,” says Sheerin. “I kept pushing down the masher and lifting just enough to catch a little air to lighten them. I wasn’t even thinking about what I was doing at the time, but somehow, they were pretty amazing.”

In the decades since, Sheerin personally perfected methods for marvelous mashed potatoes still include an old-fashioned masher–but also finish with this liquid gold gravy. Made with roasted bones from a turkey carcass, onion, garlic, white wine, thyme and lots of mushrooms, Sheerin’s rich gravy is worth the effort. I roast a small turkey days before Thanksgiving, save the meat for after-holiday casseroles and sandwiches, and use the carcass specifically to make this gravy. It means a lot less last-minute scrambling the day of the event. Bonus: View our marvelous mashed potatoes recipe using best-of methods from Mike and Chicago Chef Matthias Merges.

Makes 3 cups

Liquid Gold Gravy Ingredients

  • Meaty bones from the carcass of one 10 to 12 pound turkey
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half, chopped into pieces
  • 1 large onion julienne sliced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ pounds crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place oven rack in the center. Set oven temperature to 350.
  2. Break up turkey carcass bones into level layer in large roasting pan. Sprinkle with julienned onion and garlic pieces. Add 1 cup water. Roast bones at 350 for 1 hour.
  3. Remove bones to a separate bowl. On stovetop, deglaze roasting pan with 1 cup wine. Pour through a strainer. Reserve liquid.
  4. Return bones to roasting pan. Cover with 12 cups water. Set oven to 325. Roast bones for 3 hours.
  5. Near the end of cooking time, in a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt butter and cook mushrooms with thyme. Set aside.
  6. Remove roasting pan from oven. Pour liquid remaining in roasting pan (3 1/2 to 4 cups) into skillet with mushrooms. Cook down for 10 minutes
  7. Add the wine deglazing liquid you reserved. Simmer for five more minutes. Pour all through a strainer. Discard solids (mushrooms and thyme). Return liquid to sauté pan over medium heat. Whisk in small amount of Wondra flour to thicken to desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over mashed potatoes.

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