Not that I don't have gravy memories. I remember often not making enough. But I think I have finally figured out that part and want to share my secrets with you. Making gravy is not the same as invading Normandy. But you do need a plan. (Note - today I am talking about only the gravy plan. That is different from the big T-DAY plan. One step at a time.)
Step 1 - Equipment inventory
Do this as soon as possible. Don't wait until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
You will need:
One roasting pan, preferably with a rack (This keeps the bird up off the bottom of the pan.)
One bulb baster (This is the easiest way I know to get at the lovely turkey juices - especially during the roasting process. Mine is plastic. Some day I am going to get one of the metal ones. Either should work fine.)
One whisk (This is for making the roux and the gravy. Lumps begone.)
|The fat rises. You pour the broth out of the bottom.|
|I just love the curvy profile of this gravy boat|
|The official Hanson family roaster|
Step 2 About 4 days before Thanksgiving
Bring your turkey home from wherever you are getting it. Thaw in refrigerator if it is frozen. Remove the giblets - the neck, gizzard, heart and liver and keep cold in a separate container. Make sure you have some onion, celery, parsley, bay leaf and carrot in the house. Salt and pepper too of course. And you might need a stick of butter depending on how much fat is or is not in your turkey.
Step 3 Two days before Thanksgiving
Yes you can buy broth and that is ok if you need to. But it is very expensive and just not as good as what you can make yourself. And if you don't make broth, what will you do with all the giblets? One side benefit of making broth is that it will make your house smell good. Who needs potpourri if you have broth on the back burner?
How to make turkey broth - you will need about 6 cups when you are done
7 cups water
turkey giblets (save the liver for sauteeing separately - a special treat for the cook and a friend while everyone else is watching football)
one cup EACH coarsely chopped onion, carrot and celery. If you have some leek tops use those too.
1 cup loosely packed parsley sprigs
3 bay leaves
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Put all ingredients in a pot big enough to hold everything comfortably. Bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer, partly covered, for 2-3 hours. Remove the giblets and put in a dish to cool. After the broth has cooled a bit, pour through a strainer into a large bowl. Remove meat from the neck and chop. Finely cut up the heart and gizzard. (I usually trim the gristly part from the gizzard.) Reserve and refrigerate the meat in a covered dish. Refrigerate the broth.
Step 4 Thanksgiving day -- it's SHOWTIME
I will assume that you have figured out how to roast the turkey and that it is cooking away in your oven and you are basting it occasionally. About half an hour before you think the turkey will be done, pull off some turkey juices with your baster and put them in the fat separator. You want about 1/2 cup of fat as well as some rich broth. If you don't have at least 1/2 cup of the turkey drippings, then melt some butter so you have a total of 1/2 cup fat.
Make a roux in a large pan with the 1/2 cup fat and 1/2 cup of white flour. Stir with a whisk about 10 minutes - the mixture should be smooth. Heat turkey broth while the roux is cooking. (You will need about 7 cups total of broth.) Add hot broth to roux mixture, 1 cup at a time, whisking all the while. Also add broth from the turkey roaster which you have hopefully extracted with the turkey baster. If gravy is too thick and you don't have any more broth, you can add a little milk or cream to the gravy.Taste for seasoning. If you have it, add a little chopped fresh parsley. Just before you are ready to serve the turkey and the trimmings, put HOT gravy in the gravy boat and serve. Keep reserve gravy hot because you will need to refill the gravy boat several times.
Good luck and may your gravy be smooth.
If you didn't catch this link on Featherstone's FACEBOOK page - check it out. Root vegetables roasted. Basic skills.