Time: About 9 hours, plus cooling
FOR THE TURKEY STOCK:
4 tablespoons butter, more if necessary for gravy, and for seasoning (optional)
6 turkey legs or other dark meat turkey parts (thighs, wings, etc.), to make about 6 pounds
Salt and black pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and stuck with 3 cloves
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 stalks celery with leaves, trimmed and cut into large chunks
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
1 cup white wine, Madeira, vermouth, dry sherry or water
FOR THE GRAVY:
12 tablespoons ( 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper.
1. For the stock: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle turkey parts with salt and pepper, place in roasting pan and brush with melted butter. Roast 2 hours, basting with butter every 20 minutes or so.
2. Transfer roasted turkey to a stockpot and set roasting pan aside. Add onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns to stockpot. Add cold water just to cover, bring to a simmer and cook, slightly uncovered, about 6 hours.
3. Meanwhile, place roasting pan on top of stove and bring juices to a simmer over low heat. Pour in wine (or water), stirring and scraping to bring up browned bits. (If using wine, simmer at least 5 minutes.) Pour all liquid into a bowl and refrigerate. When deglazing liquid is cool, lift off top layer of fat; reserve fat. Add deglazing liquid to stockpot.
4. When stock is golden and flavorful, strain into a large container and refrigerate. When cool, lift off fat and mix it with reserved fat from deglazing liquid. Reserve 3 quarts stock for gravy and refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.
5. For the gravy: In a deep skillet or large heavy pot, melt 12 tablespoons ( 3/4 cup) reserved turkey fat over medium heat. If you do not have enough turkey fat, use additional butter to make 3/4 cup. Gradually whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking, until golden brown and toasty-smelling, 3 to 5 minutes or longer for darker gravy.
6. Whisk in a small amount of stock (this prevents lumps), then add remainder more quickly and whisk until smooth. Simmer, continually whisking, until thickened. If too thick, thin with more stock or a little wine and simmer briefly. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, whisk in a few tablespoons cold butter to smooth and enrich gravy.
Yield: 3 quarts, about 20 servings.
To make ahead: Gravy can be made up to a month ahead. It freezes well in plastic containers or bags. Thaw in refrigerator or over low heat. Whisk in a little water if it appears curdled or too thick.
Note: Recipe can be halved to make about 6 cups gravy. Or for more gravy, use remaining stock and add 1 tablespoon fat and 1 tablespoon flour to the roux in Step 5 for each cup additional stock.