Thanksgiving recipes: Gravy

Giblet gravy

45 minutes plus stock-simmering time. 8 to 12 servings

1 onion, quartered

1 cup carrot, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

Assorted turkey pieces (neck, wingtips, tail, gizzard and heart, but not the liver)

1 bay leaf

1 bunch (about 14 sprigs) parsley

1 sprig fresh thyme

1/4 cup fat skimmed from roasting pan, with butter added if necessary to make ¼ cup

1/4 cup flour

Salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon powdered sage (if serving sage dressing)

Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large saucepan, combine the onion, carrot, celery, turkey pieces, 6 cups water, the bay leaf, parsley and thyme. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook for at least 2 hours.

2. After cooking, strain the stock into a measuring cup. You'll need about 3½ to 4 cups of stock. Peel the tough skin from the gizzard; chop the gizzard and heart finely. Set aside.

3. When the turkey comes out of the oven, remove it to a platter to rest. Place the roasting pan over a burner set to high. Remove any garlic, onions, herbs or aromatics with a slotted spoon and discard. Let the pan sizzle for a minute; add the stock, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to free any browned bits.

4. Pour this mixture into a fat separator or back into the measuring cup and set aside for a couple of minutes to let the fat separate.

5. In a saucepan over medium heat, add one-fourth cup skimmed fat or whatever amount of fat you have plus enough melted butter to make about one-fourth cup. Whisk in the flour and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly.

6. Slowly add 1 cup of stock, whisking constantly, being careful to add as little of the top layer of fat as you can. The sauce will thicken almost immediately. Gradually add more stock, about 1 cup at a time, whisking until the gravy is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

7. When all of the stock has been added, season to taste with salt, sage and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes to cook out the taste of the raw flour. Occasionally, use a large soup spoon to skim off the skin of protein that forms on the top.

8. About 5 minutes before serving, stir in the chopped giblets. Ladle into a warmed gravy boat. Makes about 3 cups.

EACH ¼ CUP: 72 calories; 4 grams protein; 4 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 4 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 24 mg cholesterol; 28 mg sodium.

Giblet gravy: To make a stock, combine a quartered onion with a diced carrot and diced rib of celery, turkey neck, wingtips, gizzard and heart, along with 6 cups of water, a bay leaf, small bunch of parsley and sprig of thyme in a large saucepan. Simmer for at least 2 hours to form a stock. Strain the stock (you'll need 31/2 to 4 cups), saving the gizzard and heart; chop them finely. When the turkey is done, remove the bird to rest and place the roasting pan on the stovetop over high heat. Add the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any bits of flavor. Pour out the liquid to a bowl or measuring cup and skim the fat. In a saucepan over medium heat, add 1/4 cup fat (make up any difference with butter) and whisk in 1/4 cup flour. Slowly whisk in stock, 1 cup at a time, until gravy is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring in the giblets about 5 minutes before serving.

Herb gravy: When adding the giblets toward the end, also stir in 1 minced shallot, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and leaves from 1 sprig thyme. Cook for 5 minutes more before serving.

Roasted shallot gravy: Add 4 whole, unpeeled shallots to the roasting pan with the turkey for the last hour of cooking. When the turkey is finished, peel the shallots and chop finely. Whisk into the turkey gravy when it is done.

Mushroom gravy: Clean and quarter 1 pound mushrooms. Sauté in a very hot pan with 2 tablespoons butter. When almost done, sprinkle in 1 minced shallot; add to the thickened gravy. Cook 5 minutes.

Pan sauce: Roast 2 sliced onions in the pan with the turkey. When the turkey is done, remove, browning the onions on the stovetop in the pan with the juices if not already browned. Add 3 cups dry white wine or chicken broth to the roasting pan, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan, and reduce the wine by half. In a separate pan, reduce 3 cups chicken broth by half. Add the reduced broth to the roasting pan. Rub together 1/4 cup each butter and flour to form a paste, and slowly whisk into the roasting pan until the sauce has the desired thickness and simmer for a minute or two. Season to taste before serving.

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