Make-Ahead Stuffing and Gravy With ‘America’s Test Kitchen’ Co-Host Julia Davison

California Cooking
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Jessica admits that when it comes to big holiday meals, she is a sides girl.

Julia Davison, co-host of "America’s Test Kitchen" agrees! She said it's where your personality comes out in the kitchen.

She shows us how to prepare "make-ahead" stuffing and gravy. The trick: the most underused part of the turkey, the wings!

This segment aired on California Cooking With Jessica Holmes Episode 47.

Julia Davison's Make Ahead Gravy
Serves 10 to 12 people (Makes about 2 quarts)


  • 6 turkey thighs, trimmed, or 9 wings, separated at the joints
  • 2 carrots, chopped coarse
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
  • 2 onions, chopped coarse
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 10 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra as needed
  • 2 cups of dry white wine
  • 12 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Unsalted butter, as needed
  • 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour


  1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the thighs, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic together in a roasting pan and spray with vegetable oil spray. Roast, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
  2.  Transfer the contents of the roasting pan to a large Dutch oven. Add the broth, wine, and thyme and bring to a boil, skimming as needed. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the broth is brown and flavorful and measures about 8 cups when strained, about 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large container, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible then discard the solids. (The turkey broth can be cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month).
  4.  Let the strained turkey broth settle (if necessary), then spoon off and reserve 1/2 cup of the fat that has risen to the top (add butter as needed if short on turkey fat). Heat the fat in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until bubbling. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until well browned, 3 to 7 minutes.
  5. Slowly whisk in the turkey broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the gravy is very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the defatted drippings (if using) to taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. (The gravy can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat gently, adding additional chicken broth as needed to adjust the consistency.

Julia Davison's Bread Stuffing with Fresh Herbs
Serves 10 to 12 people


  • 2 pounds hearty white sandwich bread (20 to 22 slices), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 16 cups)
  • 3 pounds of turkey wings, divided at joints
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) of unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons of table salt
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Spread bread cubes in even layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets.
  3. Bake until the edges have dried, but the centers are slightly moist, 45 to 60 minutes, stirring several times during baking. (Bread can be toasted up to 1 day in advance.)
  4. Transfer to large bowl and increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  5. Use the tip of paring knife to poke 10 to 15 holes in each wing segment.
  6. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add wings in single layer and cook until golden brown on both sides, 8 to 12 minutes; transfer to bowl.
  7. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add onion, celery, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add thyme, sage, and pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Add 1 cup broth and bring to simmer, using wooden spoon to scrape browned bits from bottom of pan. Add vegetable mixture to bowl with dried bread and toss to combine.
  9. Grease 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter. In medium bowl, whisk eggs, remaining 1½ cups broth, remaining 1½ teaspoons salt, and any accumulated juices from wings until combined.
  10. Add egg/broth mixture and parsley to bread mixture and gently toss to combine; transfer to greased baking dish.
  11. Arrange wings on top of stuffing, cover tightly with aluminum foil and place baking dish on rimmed baking sheet.
  12. Bake on lower-middle rack until thickest part of wings registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 60 to 75 minutes.
  13. Remove foil and transfer wings to dinner plate to reserve for another use. Using fork, gently fluff stuffing. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

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