I make the best turkey gravy. I know this because I’ve had the bad stuff. The lumpy. The greasy. The pasty. And, maybe like you, I was scared of making gravy. After all, people remember bad gravy, the way they remember you had spinach in your teeth. That gravy goes on the turkey, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes. It’s important, which might be why I avoided making it for years, giving someone else that task. But last year I decided to girl up and make the perfect turkey, perfect mashed potatoes and of course the perfect gravy.
Perfect gravy is silky, not heavy. Don’t be scared of my word perfect. People like it when they are googling for recipes. My second most popular post is for perfect cream cheese frosting and I get emails all the time about how perfect it really is. Of course, your idea of perfect might be different, and that’s okay too. I like a silky gravy that has big fat flavor, the right amount of salt, and no floury taste. That works for me, because I don’t like a thick, pasty gravy covering up my food.
Perfect gravy begins with a good turkey stock. This might seem like extra work, but it’s easy extra work that is worth it. I will take the turkey neck, and if I can’t find anything else, (turkey wings, etc). I’ll cut that little end part of the turkey that people usually throw out, known as the turkey butt. If the turkey comes with the gizzard and heart, I’ll use that too, but not the liver.
Good Turkey Stock begins with the good turkey parts. I’ve mentioned the butt, which is that little triangle part of the turkey that many people mistakenly throw out. The neck and butt get roasted with vegetables and the simmered for hours on the stove to extract flavor. Done the day before, the roasting of the turkey is easy, especially if using my no fail cheesecloth technique.
Good Gravy is easy, if the stock is good. It only requires a slurry of ice cold water and flour, and if flavorful enough as mine usually is, requires extra seasoning.
If you don’t make turkey stock, you can start with at least 2 to 4 quarts of canned turkey or chicken broth and use it to baste your turkey, Either way, the stock or the broth will gather increased flavor with each roasting hour. You should end up with at least one quart of turkey stock to start the gravy.
Two Kinds of Turkey Stock: Before the Turkey is Roasted and After the Turkey is Roasted
This recipe is for turkey stock for basting the turkey before it is roasted.
There is another reason to make turkey stock, and that is AFTER you’ve eaten a roast turkey. You’ll want to take the carcass and boil those bones down to a rich stock to save for turkey soup or for the freezer. Reroast the bones for 30 minutes and add to pot of boiling water prepared the way this chicken stock is prepared.
- TURKEY STOCK INGREDIENTS
- 1 turkey neck, 1 turkey butt, gizzards, heart (If you have them, no liver)
- 1 chicken back or chicken necks (can use turkey wings)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 onions, quartered
- 2 carrots, chopped in thirds
- 3 stalks celery, chopped in thirds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon pepper
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- TURKEY GRAVY INGREDIENTS
- Turkey stock and all the drippings from the turkey
- 2-4 tablespoons flour
- ice cold water (I/2 cup per two tablespoons flour)
- TURKEY STOCK INSTRUCTIONS
- Roast turkey parts in oven for 45 minutes at 350.
- Add chopped vegetables. Turn meat over and place over vegetables.
- Continue to roast for 35 minutes.
- Add turkey and vegetables and all pan drippings into 4 quarts of boiling water. Bring to simmer, and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.
- Cool. Skim fat. Use immediately or make day before, refrigerate.
- TURKEY GRAVY INSTRUCTIONS
- Heat stock on stove. You will will have about 1 quart. Stirring constantly, pour in ½ cup water mixed into a slurry with 2 tablespoons of flour. If you still need to thicken, repeat process, giving the gravy at least 10 minutes to thicken.
- Season with salt and pepper as needed.