Categories:Christmas Cooking Lessons - Cooking 101 Gravy Recipes Holiday Turkey Dinners Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Hints & Tips Turkey
Perfect turkey gravy, made using the turkey giblet stock, pan drippings, and meat juices from the roast turkey, is an essential part of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving, dinner would not be complete without perfect turkey gravy!
To make the perfect turkey gravy, you first make a stock fusing the flavors of the giblets, which cooks on the stove top while you are cooking your turkey (or cooked the day before). The secret to perfect turkey gravy is to skim off most of the fat from the drippings so the gravy is not greasy tasting. Following the below instructions, anyone can easily make perfect turkey gravy.
What should you do with the turkey’s giblets? The answer is make delicious turkey gravy!
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. Giblets are those extra parts of the turkey you do not roast on Thanksgiving, but cook separately and use in your gravy preparation.
Important – whether you are using the giblets or not, 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 “pooh-pooh” the giblets, as they make a delicious turkey gravy!
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. I have also used chicken parts and made this stock well in advance of Thanksgiving. The stock freezes wonderfully.
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 – Learn how to Roast a Perfect Turkey:
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. Skim off all but about 3 to 4 tablespoons fat (the amount you need to make your gravy) and return it to the turkey roasting pan; discard the remaining fat.
Using a heavy spoon, 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: