Gravy isn’t difficult, but it has the reputation of being intimidating, perhaps because it’s often the final thing to make and rush to the table moments before everyone gathers to eat. When hot pans, hungry guests, and the good dishes are zipping in and out of the kitchen, it’s challenging for any cook to focus on getting the gravy just right. The smartest strategy is to make it ahead, in stages, as time allows. Knock out the turkey broth weeks in advance and make the gravy a few days ahead, so that the only thing left to do on the actual holiday is warm it up and stir in the finishing touches.
1/4 cup salted butter or bacon fat
1/4 cup quick-mixing flour (such as Wondra) or all-purpose flour
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high until sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, whisking until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. (Flour will brown as it cooks, but if it starts to scorch, reduce heat as needed.) Add warm broth in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking often, until gravy comes to a simmer and thickens, 6 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool 30 minutes. Pour into a bowl or jar; cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.
To serve, reheat gravy over low. Stir in cream, sherry, thyme, pepper, and salt.