A Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t be complete without homemade turkey gravy to pour generously over your mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey meat. Some people opt to make the gravy ahead of time to lessen the stress but then you will not have the wonderful flavor that comes from the pan drippings, flavors that come not only from the turkey juices but from the browned bits stuck to the pan that impart lovely flavor to gravy. And unless you have access to the turkey neck and giblets ahead of time, you will also miss making a flavorful broth from these parts.
With just a tiny bit of extra coordination, it is relatively easy and well worth the effort to make homemade turkey gravy at the last minute while the bird is resting and the remaining dishes are heating in the oven. This recipe uses the roasting pan itself rather than yet another saucepan; doing it this way dirties one less pot and takes advantage of the browned and delicious bits in the pan.
Neck and giblets from a turkey
1 onion, chopped
2-3 leafy small inner leafy stalks from a bunch of celery
8 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
turkey pan drippings
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the neck, giblets, onion, celery, broth and bay leaf to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer over low heat for about 2 hours while the turkey roasts. Strain the vegetables, bay leaf, and turkey parts from broth. Feed the giblets to your dog or reserve the giblet for chopping and adding to the gravy. Compost the vegetables. When the turkey is almost done, return broth to heat and bring to a simmer.
After you have removed the turkey from the roasting pan to let it rest for 20 minutes, pour the drippings into a liquid measuring cup. If there is less than ½ cup drippings, add melted butter. Pour back into pan and place the pan over 2 burners and turn the burners to medium.
Scatter the flour evenly over the drippings and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, preferably a flat whisk, about 3 minutes. Be sure to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Carefully ladle the hot broth into the flour mixture while whisking constantly. Bring the gravy to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk occasionally until the gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes. Finely dice and add giblets, if using. Season with salt and pepper.
A few Thanksgiving side dish ideas in case your annual cast of characters needs refreshing...
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