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Spare the Angst Classic Turkey Gravy

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Level: Easy

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My phone is like a Thanksgiving hotline on turkey day, and the most stressful part of the meal for a lot of people is the gravy. I finally decided to write it all down. How much do you need? How to cut down on the fat but keep the flavor? I use a trick from my mom–an old, beat-up gravy shaker. It was lost at one point and I found a replacement, but you don’t really need that uni-tasking gizmo.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Turkey Neck
  • 2 whole Turkey Wing Tips
  • ½ whole Onion, Thickly Sliced
  • 1 whole Carrot, Thickly Sliced
  • 1 whole Stalk Celery, Thickly Sliced
  • 1 whole Bay Leaf
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • ½ cups Or More Low-salt Chicken Broth, As Needed

Preparation

1. As soon as the turkey goes in the oven, put the turkey neck and the wing tips (if you have cut them off the turkey) in a large saucepan with the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf. Add a pinch of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Cover with about an inch of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Decrease the heat so that the stock simmers gently while the turkey roasts, for at least one hour. Just be sure the liquid doesn’t boil away (add more water if necessary). Strain the stock before you go to the next step – in order to remove bones, etc.

2. When the turkey is done, remove it from the roasting pan and set it on a platter to rest for a while before carving (at least 30 minutes.) Pour all the turkey drippings–the juices and fat from the roasting pan–into a large (4 cup) Pyrex measuring cup or glass bowl. Let it rest for about 5 minutes to allow the fat to separate and rise to the top. Skim off and discard the fat.

3. Pour about 1 cup of the turkey stock you made in step one into the roasting pan and stir with a whisk to release all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the turkey drippings (now de-fatted) to the pan and stir some more. Strain all of this back into the measuring cup to see how much you have and to rid the stock of any unwanted crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Add enough turkey stock to the measuring cup to make four cups. If you don’t have enough stock, add chicken broth. Pour it into a saucepan.

4. Mix the flour with 1/3 cup cold water until smooth, using a gravy shaker, or whisking it in a bowl to smooth out the lumps. Strain if you can’t get the lumps out. Or use Wondra Flour. Whisk this slurry into the stock and bring it to a boil. Simmer for at least 5 minutes to rid the gravy of the raw flour taste. The amount of flour depends on your taste. My view on this is that it should be fairly thin; the flour should just add a little body to the stock without making it goopy. If you want thicker gravy, repeat the flour and water exercise, and add it cautiously and in increments to the gravy. It will thicken as it cooks, so give it a little time (5 to 6 minutes) before you jump in with more flour. Season with salt and pepper.

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jantink on 11.26.2011

One thing I do that has guaranteed I get good thick gravy every time is to use a mixture of flour and milk rather than flour and water. I shake 3/4 cup milk together with 1/4 cup of flour and whisk it in. It makes for a paler gravy, but I boost the color with Kitchen Bouquet. This thickens every time and the milk gives the gravy more flavor. I also add some of the potato water which adds flavor and thickening power. I got the flour and milk tip from a Mennonite cookbook and ever since I started doing my gravy that way I have had no problems with thin gravy.

Like stellap, i use some of the stock I make with the turkey neck plus giblets to moisten my dressing. I chop all the giblets up and pull the meat off the turkey neck to stir into the dressing. Makes it extra good!

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sallypv on 11.9.2010

Stella, That’s a great idea. I usually eke out enough stock for the gravy, but it’s good to have extra for the stuffing, too. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for extra “goodies” when I buy my turkey.

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stellap on 11.6.2010

My local market/butcher sells fresh turkey necks, and I use these to make stock the day before (or earlier-just freeze). I also use this stock to moisten my stuffing/dressing.

I often buy rotisserie chickens, and I throw the carcasses, along with the drippings in the tray, into the freezer. These make awesome stock.

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Emily on 12.17.2011

This gravy is easy and excellent if you like traditional brown gravy for your turkey. Just like my mom made, but without any guess work. I didn’t use the wing tips out of laziness and didn’t need salt as the drippings from my salted bird were salty enough – perfect! Thank you!

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