I’m reaching into the archives today for my world* famous gravy recipe! You can thank me later.
*and by world, I mean family, and by family, I mean the handful of my husband’s voracious kin whom I can’t seem to scare off with my questionable housekeeping skills.
My turkey gravy rocks. Ask anyone.
Follow this recipe and yours will too.*
May I present, The Art of Making Perfect Turkey Gravy, in four parts:
1.) The Turkey Stock
Sure, you could use store bought stock, but why would you when it is so easy to make it at home for pennies?
Early Thanksgiving morning, as soon as you are done chasing your little brother around while pretending the turkey’s neck is a big floppy penis, get out an 8 quart saucepan and fill it with the following ingredients:
- the turkey’s neck and giblets
- a halved yellow onion with the skin still on
- a celery heart (keep the leaves!)
- 1 scrubbed carrot (not peeled)
- about 12 whole black peppercorns (give ‘em a good whack first for more flavor)
- one (yes, just one) whole clove (the spice that looks like a pushpin)
- about 6 cups of water (you may need to add more)
Put it on the back burner and slowly simmer that mofo all day. Just before the turkey’s done, remove all the stuff out of the stock with a slotted-spoon and taste the stock for seasoning. Add some salt, to taste. Keep it warm on the stove near the burner where you are going to make the gravy.
If you like a meaty gravy, like I do, pick the meat off that turkey neck and chop it finely. Or, for funsies, hand it to your Mother-in-Law and watch her suck the meat off it while you and your sisters crack all kinds of inappropriate jokes. Chop up the giblets too. You can add all of that nastiness to the gravy and it will make it taste even more turkeyriffic.
2.) Preparation G
Now that your stock is simmering, get the rest of the gravy ingredients measured into separate lidded prep bowls. The French call this cooking technique mise en place. You see TV chefs doing it all the time because it is easier to chit chat while you toss premeasured ingredients into the pot. Trust me, when your kitchen is a flurry of chaos 30 minutes before dinner is served, you’ll be so glad you don’t have to stop, think, and measure the ingredients for your roux, which are:
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbs. dry sherry
If you are serving a huge crowd like my family (22+ people), you will want to double this. Trust me. Better to have too much than not enough.
Next, assemble all the special gravy making tools you’ll need (see below) and just put them on the counter until gravy time. You may need your anal-retentive husband to sign a waiver indicating that he supports the new temporary pile of gadgets in plain view and that he promises not to put everything away where it really belongs the minute you leave the kitchen to do a shot of Sambuca.
3.) Harvest the Drippings
As soon as the turkey is done, pour all the drippings from the roasting pan into your handy-dandy fat separator (keep the spout stopper IN while you do this…it will keep the fat at the top so you can pour off the good juices from the hole in the bottom). Don’t have a fat separator? Sorry, you’re fucked. Kidding. Just skim off as much fat as you can. But seriously, buy a fat separator for next year, m’kay?
Now pour the defatted drippings back into the empty roasting pan and add 3/4 cup of water. Heat it up on top of your stove over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom and sides of the roasting pan. Then transfer that juicy brown awesomesauce to a bowl. You’ll need it in a few minutes.
4.) Roux, roux, roux your boat.
Now’s the time you will need those premeasured ingredients I mentioned above. Hopefully you took my advice and they are all sitting in their own little lidded prep bowls, patiently waiting for you. If not, pray you’re not too drunk by now to measure things correctly.
Slowly melt your butter in your saucier or sauce pan. Pay attention and don’t let it burn, Missy! Now add your flour. Stir rapidly with a whisk to cook the gumminess out of the flour. Do this for a couple of minutes until the roux is golden and bubbly.
Rapidly whisk in your reserved juicy awesomesauce and about two cups of your homemade turkey stock (or 4 cups if you doubled the recipe).
Now cook and whisk until the gravy is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes or so…I have no sense of time while I’m whisking…or buzzed).
Stir in the dry sherry and season with salt and pepper. Add in the chopped giblet and neck meat if desired.
Pour the gravy into a warmed sauceboat. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups (4-5 cups if doubled). And don’t be surprised if you catch your Uncle Cleofus licking the gravy boat at some point in the evening.
Now, even if your cousin Earline clogs your toilet and Aunt Patty teaches your kids new racial slurs, you’ll still have the best gravy in town. And after all, it’s all gravy.
Oh, like you’ve never chased someone with a turkey neck,
-Iris (aka Leslie)
*Disclaimer: I totally stole this recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen years ago, so you can trust it. But listen, beeyotch, I’m a comedy writer, not a chef. This is how I make my gravy every damn year. If it doesn’t work for you, I will not be held personally responsible. Follow this recipe and my tips at your own risk. Also, this post contains affiliate links.
© Copyright 2011 and 2012, The Bearded Iris.
Originally published at The Bearded Iris November 17, 2011.