Turkey Gravy is probably the most important recipe of the Thanksgiving menu! It is what makes all the other dishes pop! So to have it the way it should be, you must make the turkey stock. It is so simple and can be done months ahead. Its’ flavor is distinctive, totally different than chicken stock. Do it. You will not be disappointed.
This is basically a pan gravy because of the utilization of the drippings from roasting the turkey. The roasted turkey is not the star of the show but it does give us fabulous pan drippings for this gravy. And because I want those drippings before the last minute,
I always roast the turkey early on Thanksgiving day so the gravy can be finished and all the mess cleaned up. Yes, the turkey will be room temperature, but served with piping hot gravy, no one knows the difference and the cook can enjoy family time.
Now for two controversial gravy ingredients.
- the hard-boiled eggs. I have done some online research and see that this addition probably originated in the rural South. There are lots of mentions of Georgia and Appalachia. It has been a part of my Thanksgiving forever. Gravy is good without them but, for me, it is a must. It adds a dimension not seen in any other pan gravy. I won’t give it up. Sometimes I yield to pressure and have a gravy boat with hard boiled eggs, and a gravy boat without. Please try it! I think you will be hooked.
- the giblets. I grew up with them in the gravy. NO, I don’t want them in my gravy. But if you do, then rinse them and put the heart, gizzard and neck (liver is too strong) in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Dice the heart and gizzard (neck was there for flavor, toss it). Add to gravy when the hard-boiled eggs are added.
THINKING THANKSGIVING - Turkey Gravy
- 4 LBS TURKEY PARTS
- 2 CARROTS peeled, cut in chunks
- 2 STALKS CELERY 2-3 inch pieces
- 1 MEDIUM ONION quartered
- 1 BAY LEAF
- 14 CUPS WATER
- 3+ CUPS TURKEY STOCK
- 1/4 CUP FAT FROM STOCK & DRIPPINGS or more
- 5 TBS FLOUR
- PAN DRIPPINGS
- 8 HARD-BOILED EGGS sliced
- Rinse turkey parts. Transfer to 8-quart stockpot. Add carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf and water. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Cook at a gentle simmer for 2 hours or meat is falling off the bone. Remove cover last 15 minutes to reduce a bit. Cool. Strain. Transfer to container for refrigerator.
- Next day: Fat will have risen to the top. Remove carefully and SAVE (freeze if using later)for making the gravy. Proceed with recipe or portion stock and freeze for later use.
- To make the gravy on Thanksgiving: Drain pan drippings from the roasted turkey into a fat separator. Fat will float to the top. Do NOT discard. Pour pan drippings (without fat) into a measuring cup. Add turkey stock to total 4-5 cups. Set aside for finishing gravy.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the reserved fat. If you don't have enough fat, use butter to make up for it. Add flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add turkey stock and pan drippings. Cook until thickened. Add more stock if needed...don't make it too thick!
- Just before serving, add hard-boiled eggs (and giblets if you like) and cook until hot.
- Using the fat from the stock and pan drippings is very important. There is a huge amount of flavor. Don't skimp. It's Thanksgiving.
- No salt in the recipe because I like to control that with my final dish. Season to taste when finishing gravy.
- The drippings make the gravy. Use all of them......and sometimes I throw in the rest of the fat.
- Leftovers? Lift out the large pieces of hard-boiled eggs and freeze. I like to use it as a base for a soup....If you make turkey carcass soup, it is a perfect addition.
- If you have the turkey stock made before you make your cornbread dressing, be sure to use it to make the dressing.