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
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 leafy small inner stalks from a bunch of celery, chopped
3 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
turkey pan drippings
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Add the neck, giblets, onion, celery, water and bay leaf to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover partially, and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours while the turkey roasts. Let cool and then strain the vegetables, bay leaf, and turkey parts from broth. Reserve the giblet for chopping and adding to the gravy, if you want. 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 45 minutes, skim some of the excess fat from the surface of the liquid that collected in the roasting pan. (You will want about 4 tablespoons of fat left in the pan.) Place the roasting pan over 1 or 2 burners over medium heat. Scrape up the caramelized tidbits, then sprinkle the flour over the top. Stir it well to blend it with the fat and juices and break up any lumps of flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the warm stock to the roasting pan while whisking. (A flat whisk comes in handy here.) Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, until it thickens and has a gravy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For a smoother gravy, strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Add the chopped giblets if desired. Serve with turkey and fixings.