It’s Thanksgiving time and one of the most important things on the Thanksgiving table is gravy. I can’t imagine having a big gravy boat filled with steaming hot gravy on the table every year. It’s what brings everything together and adds that something extra special to all the savory foods on your plate.
I briefly talked about Trader Joe’s Turkey Gravy a while back here. I revisited it when I did the Cornbread Stuff Mix review and I thought I’d put it in its own post this year. I first tried Trader Joe’s Turkey Gravy many years ago when I really kicked this blog up a notch and at the time I thought it was one of the lowest scoring products I’ve ever had from Trader Joe’s. Another year rolled around and I had seen some people rating Trader Joe’s Turkey Gravy pretty highly so I decided to try it again this year.
I picked up another box of it to have with the Trader Joe’s Stuffing mix I just reviewed. Again, I was really disappointed in the turkey gravy from Trader Joe’s. I do think I was a little harsh on the 2 Bells I gave it last year and will revise that score upwards. But let’s get to the Turkey Gravy itself.
First, the Turkey Gravy comes in one of those thick paper square cans that many soups and other liquids come in these days. You have to lift the edges and then squeeze the top and rip off the top.
Occasionally, I screw it up and spill it all over the place. I miss my steel cans! Anyway, when I opened it up I saw that it was basically the same as before. The color is a light nut-brown color and the consistency is consistent with a good gravy. I didn’t want the whole box so I put about a cup in a glass bowl and heated it up in the microwave.
When I took it out of the microwave, it smelled faintly of gravy but not very strong. I expected a more robust smell. I got out a spoon and tasted the turkey gravy directly. Again, not impressed. It’s just missing so much flavor that you expect from a real gravy! I like gravy that is full-flavored and fairly salty. It’s a condiment so it should add flavor to the dish that you are putting it on. This was fairly bland and tasted faintly of cardboard.
I would definitely kick this up a notch or two by putting it in a pot and adding some salt, pepper, and herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage. Maybe a good pinch of those or fresh if you have it.
I would simmer it for a good 10-15 minutes. You might want to add a little chicken stock so it doesn’t boil down too much and that should enhance the flavor quite a bit. This year we made Alton Brown’s Gravy (Here is his great cookbook that I use all the time Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food) and it was fabulous. Rich, dark, thick bursting with flavor. Alton Brown rocks!
Final Thoughts and Upgrades
I would think of this gravy as a good start. It doesn’t taste like a finished product. My family, and I am sure yours, like to have a more flavorful gravy but it takes more time to do and the last thing you want to be doing on Thanksgiving day is making more gravy. To give the Trader Joe’s Gravy more flavor I would simply put the whole box (maybe two) in a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer. Sprinkle some Everything But the Stuffing Seasoning in the gravy, a pinch of dried sage or thyme, and maybe a small grind of black pepper. Simmer for a few minutes until the flavors come together and serve hot. That will boost your gravy game like nobody’s business.
I could see using this gravy if you were in a real pinch and then you enhanced the flavor, but I would never use this gravy on its own without enhancements.
Having said that, it wasn’t as terrible as I remembered so I am going to revise my score to 4 Bells!
Filtered water. natural turkey flavor (natural turkey flavor, salt, turkey fat, maltodextrin, natural flavor, sugar, onion and garlic powder, caramel color, spices, turmeric extract), modified tapioca starch, potato flour, nonfat dry milk.