The night before Thanksgiving is the best time to make the stock for your gravy. The stock is your secret weapon for making fabulous gravy. If you make the stock, you won’t have to resort to flavor-additives or thickening agents… just simple, homemade gravy. If you don’t have time to make stock be sure to buy frozen freshly made stock that most grocery stores make available around Turkey day.
Make the gravy right after the turkey comes out of the oven. In the time it takes for the bird to rest before it’s presented to the table, you can make the gravy and get everyone to the table. Be organized and prepared — keep all of your gravy-making ingredients and equipment together in one place so it’s ready when you are.
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Makes approximately 3 cups
1 package turkey giblets (minus the liver)
1 turkey neck
1 turkey tail (the pope’s nose)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 cups water
1 tablespoon roasting pan fat
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup turkey drippings, skimmed of fat
To make the stock: Rinse the giblets, neck and tail under cold running water and place in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the onion, celery, carrots, bay leaf and peppercorns. Pour enough water to cover the giblets and vegetables by 2-inches.
Bring the saucepan to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. If any foam develops on the surface, carefully skim it off as stock simmers.
Turn the heat off and allow stock to cool until pot is cool enough to strain. Strain stock through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container. Discard the giblets and vegetables. Cover stock and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the gravy: Immediately after you take the turkey out of the oven, move the turkey to a carving board to rest and pour all of the juices from the roasting pan into a fat separator.
Return roasting pan to the stove and place it over two burners. On medium-low heat, add a tablespoon of the fat from the fat separator and butter to the pan and let the butter melt. Add the flour and whisk the flour and butter together into a thick paste. Keep whisking until the butter and flour mixture (roux) smells nutty, up to three minutes.
Quickly, but carefully pour the cold stock into the roasting pan, a little at a time, and whisk to blend the stock and roux together – do not worry too much if you have lumps at first. Bring the heat up to medium-high and keep whisking until it begins to boil. The gravy should thicken as it boils. Turn off the heat and taste. If the gravy needs salt, whisk in the turkey pan juices one tablespoon at a time.
Strain the gravy into a gravy boat and serve hot.