Common Turkey-Day Problems Solved

By Chef Judi Gallagher –

familydinnerThe year that I graduated from Johnson & Wales and became a working chef (1980), my parents declared that the school tuition was worth every cent, because I could now make perfect gravy at holiday time. Four years after graduation, I opened my first restaurant in a seaside town in Massachusetts. Over the years no matter where I’ve cooked and taught  – on television, in restaurants,  YouTube, in my own home – the most common seasonal questions I get are about gravy.

Home cooks want their turkey to be moist and their to gravy be smooth and flavorful. Do you feel the same way? Well relax, I have my full-proof gravy recipe ready for you. Remember that gravy thickens more as it sits so make sure that you have extra stock to add if needed. I’m also sharing two of my very favorite holiday recipes. They’ll be on my table this year and I think they may make it to yours.


Turkey Gravy

Pan Gravy:

11/2 cups turkey stock

¼ cup pan drippings from turkey or chicken

Fresh ground black pepper

Pinch kosher salt

½ cup butter

Equal parts white all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cream (if desired)

1 splash gravy master


Empty all but ¼ cup pan drippings from roasting pan. Gently scrape bottom to get all the delicious crust from the roasted bird.

In a separate pan, melt butter. Gently whip in flour using a whisk until thick and continue to stir over low heat for 10 minutes to cook out the taste of flour. (this is called a roux). Add turkey broth to roasting pan- gravy master and pepper. When the stock starts to simmer, gently whisk in very small amounts of roux, stirring constantly with whisk until there are no lumps. Add more roux if needed, bit in small amount and continue to heat over medium heat until gravy thickens. Add more stock if needed and cream if desired. Adjust seasoning.


Cranberry Chutney

CranberryC½ white onion minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

2 oranges, zested and juiced

3 cups sugar

1 cup white vinegar

2 each cinnamon sticks

12 ounce package cranberries


In a sauce pan, combine the onions, ginger, orange juice and zest, sugar, vinegar and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil and cook down to a syrup (about 15 minutes). Add cranberries and continue to cook until the cranberries have all “popped”


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Napoleon with Caramelized Ginger

(Serves 4-5)

I love this recipe because you don’t have to be a pastry chef to make a fabulous dessert for the holidays. Try the pumpkin filling on top of golden brown cheese blintzes for a decadent Holiday Brunch dessert.

1 sheet puff pastry- thawed and cut into 9 pieces


* 1- 10 ½ ounce jar pumpkin curd

8 ounces of cream cheesepumpkin-napoleons

8 ounces whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup powdered sugar plus extra for dusting

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus extra for garnish

¼ cup pumpkin pie filling

1 teaspoon sugar



* Crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Chill beaters and medium sized metal bowl in freezer


Place thawed puff pastry (30-40 minutes to thaw) on floured counter top. Cut into nine 3-inch squares. Place on non-greased cookie sheets and bake at 400 degrees until brown (Approximately 12 minutes.) Cool on wire rack.

Whip cream until almost peaked. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Whip until peaks form. Set aside 2 ounces of whipped cream for garnish.

Whip softened cream cheese and jar of pumpkin curd with pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin filling. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Lightly fold this filling into the whipped cream. Chill for 1 hour. Carefully slice the puff pastry square in half. Top one layer with filling (about 3 tablespoons), and top with half of puff pastry, repeat, top with puff pastry. Garnish with a teaspoon of whipped cream and sift powdered sugar and pumpkin pie seasoning over the top and plate. Garnish with smashed pieces of crystallized ginger. Let sit for 4-6 hours in the refrigerator, uncovered.

  • Found in most gourmet stores.



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