Making a good gravy -- one that tastes of turkey essence and not flour and that lightly naps the food rather than smothering it -- is only a little more complicated than stirring together a white sauce. To achieve the right gravy consistency — just thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon — keep extra stock handy. As the gravy simmers, it will gradually thicken some more and you may want to thin it. Let the gravy simmer for at least 20 minutes to get rid of any raw flour taste. While it’s simmering, carefully skim the surface with a big spoon to remove any “skin” (dried-out protein from the flour) that forms.
From the story: And the rest is ...
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.
After cooking, strain the stock into a measuring cup. You’ll need about 3 1/2 to 4 cups of stock. Peel the tough skin from the gizzard; chop the gizzard and heart finely. Set aside.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About 5 minutes before serving, stir in the chopped giblets. Ladle into a warmed gravy boat.
Herb gravy: Mince 1 shallot along with 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and the leaves from 1 sprig of thyme. Whisk this into the thickened gravy and cook 5 minutes. Omit the sage.
Mushroom gravy: Clean and quarter 1 pound mushrooms. Saute 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.
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