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story.lead_photo.caption Having gravy prepped in advance will give you a head start on what is typically a busy cooking day. (Dreamstime/TNS)

The traditional way to make gravy is from the turkey drippings. And that's great if you want to do it that way, and have the time.

But you can also make gravy in advance. Having food prepped in advance will give you a head start on what is typically a busy cooking day. Here's the recipe for making gravy in advance.

Make-ahead turkey gravy

Makes: About 8 cups

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Total time: 3 hours (not all active time)

Make this gravy up to 3 days in advance or the gravy can also be frozen. The consistency is almost like gelatin, but will thin when you add turkey drippings to it.

4 turkey wings (about 3-4 pounds)

2 medium sweet onions, peeled, cut up

1 cup water

8 cups less-sodium, fat-free chicken broth, divided

1 large chopped carrot

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, optional

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a roasting pan, place the turkey wings; scatter onions on top. Roast 1 1/4 hours or until wings are golden brown.

Put wings and onions in a large stock pot. Add water to roasting pan; stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom and add all to the pot. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), the carrot and thyme if desired.

Simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the wings and cool. Once cool, remove and discard skin, reserve meat for another ruse. Strain broth into fat separator or into a bowl. Let sit 10 minutes until fat rises to the top. Pour defatted broth into a saucepan.

Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until well blended and smooth. Bring broth in saucepan to a gentle boil. Whisk in flour mixture and cook 5 minutes to thicken gravy and cook out the raw flour taste. Stir in butter and season with pepper.

Cook's note: Freeze the gravy up to 1 month. Thaw and reheat. You can add fat-skimmed drippings from a freshly roasted turkey.

Adapted from several recipes. Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per 1/4 cup serving.

26 calories (34 percent from fat), 1 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 258 mg sodium, 2 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber.

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