I find the secrets to good turkey gravy are a dark blonde roux and a strong turkey stock. The stock is easy to come by since the bones are ready to use after the de-boning is complete. I put the bones, a quartered yellow onion (including outer skin), celery, black peppercorns, any other herbs you like and a little olive oil in a foil pan. Roast the bones @ 350F for 2 hours. Transfer the bones and all the brown bits to a large stock pot and add 1 gallon of water. Bring water to a boil, skim off any foam, reduce heat and simmer for 45 min to an hour. Remove bones and strain stock into a large container and refrigerate. The next day the turkey fat will have risen to the top and congealed. It will be very easy to remove and discard.
A dark blonde roux helps create the desired rich dark color of the gravy and gives a mild nutty flavor. Melt 2 sticks of butter in a large stock pot. Add 1 cup all purpose flour and whisk together until smooth. Raise the heat and stir the roux constantly for about 10 minutes until a dark golden color is achieved. Begin whisking in the turkey stock. This may take most of the gallon of stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. At this point you may taste and add salt, pepper, and herbs. I like to add sage, thyme and a little chive. If, while adding the stock, you end up with a few lumps, the stick or immersion blender is your friend and my secret weapon in gravy making. I hope your Thanksgiving Day preparations are as easy and successful!
I almost forgot the dressing! In past years I have gone to great lengths to create my own signature stuffing and will do again. In large family groups, however, I find that the collective nostalgia for the Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix is hard to overcome. A smart cook gives her diners what they want and expect.