Perfect turkey gravy, made using the turkey giblet stock, pan drippings, and meat juices from the Roasted Turkey, is an essential part of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving, dinner would not be complete without turkey gravy!
You can start your turkey gravy the day before Thanksgiving to save time. Make-ahead turkey gravy utilizes the turkey giblets to make a stock. The flavors make a wonderfully rich turkey giblet gravy because the giblet flavors are fused in the stock as it sits overnight. Of course you can cook the giblet stock on the stove top while you are roasting your turkey. Another secret to perfect turkey gravy is to skim off most of the fat from the drippings so the gravy is not greasy.
What should you do with the turkey’s giblets?
A whole raw turkey is usually packaged with the giblets (sometimes sealed in a bag in the body cavity). The giblet bag in the turkey you buy usually includes the heart, liver, gizzard (a part of the turkey’s stomach), and neck.
Important – whether you are using the giblets or not in your gravy, remember to take them out of your raw turkey.
The USDA recommends cooking giblets separate from the turkey. They are usually packaged in a paper or plastic bag placed inside the cavity of the bird, so you definitely do not want to cook your turkey with the bag still in there.
So – do not fear the giblets, as they make a delicious turkey gravy and are full of flavor and nutrients!
Make a turkey giblet stock – Good gravy requires good stock or broth:
I usually make this stock for the gravy the day before Thanksgiving to save time. Stock can also be made well in advance of Thanksgiving using chicken parts and frozen until time for use.
Rinse giblets and neck and then pat dry. Wrap liver (air-tight) and refrigerate to add later or save for other uses (if you are using). If you simply do not want even a hint of the taste of liver, you can leave it out. Either chop giblets and cut up neck or leave whole (I have done this both ways).
While the turkey is in the oven cooking (or the day before you cook the turkey), cover the giblets, wing tips, and neck bones with approximately 4 cups water in a large 5- to 6-quart pot over high heat. If desired, add a stalk of chopped celery, a chopped carrot, some parsley, and a chopped onion (with its peel as the onion skin gives the broth a golden color).
Bring water just to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer approximately 1 1/2 hours until giblets are very tender when pierced. You may add the liver at this time (if using) and let simmer an additional 10 minutes. The liver can add a bitter taste, so I do not use it.
Remove from heat and strain broth through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard the cooked vegetables and reserve this giblet broth for making your gravy. Either discard giblets or, if desired, pick meat from neck and wing tips; finely chop all giblets and meat; add to turkey stock when making the gravy.
Refrigerate prepared broth until ready to use.
After the turkey is done roasting:
Remove the cooked turkey and rack from the roasting pan. Transfer turkey to a Cutting Board (with a well at one end to collect juices) and let the turkey rest before carving. While the turkey is resting, make the gravy.
Place roasting pan (with the drippings and fat) over two (2) burners on your stove top over medium heat (always make the gravy in the same pan you used to roast the turkey).
Skim and discard any excess fat from the juices in the roasting pan. See Turkey Gravy Ingredients below for amount of fat to use in your gravy. An easy way to remove the fat is to pour the turkey juices and fat into a tall measuring cup or bowl. The fat will float to the top of the bowl. Either skim off the fat with a ladle or use a fat separator. You can also use a turkey baster to remove the broth from under the fat layer. All you need is 3 to 4 tablespoons of fat in the turkey roasting pan to make the gravy; discard the remaining fat.
For the best turkey pan gravy use a heavy spoon to scrape all the dark drippings and any crunchy bits from the sides and bottom of roasting pan. Leave them in your roasting pan as these are what add great flavor and a nice rich color to the gravy.
Add the prepared Turkey Giblet Stock, that you previously made (see Turkey Giblet Stock above), to the roasting pan to add additional rich flavor to the turkey gravy recipe below.
Perfect Turkey Gravy Recipe – Giblet Gravy Recipe:
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