Hello, I’m Dorie, and I’m a gravy snob. I do not need a support group to get over it, thank you very much.
To the best of my knowledge, instant gravy was never used in my childhood. I can’t recall a single time that my parents or grandparents busted out a packet of powdered “gravy” to just add water to. I don’t like restaurant gravy, either, because it’s usually made the same way. If a meal comes with it, I’ll ask for it to be on the side so I can taste it first before it’s too late. Yes, I am a gravy snob.
The reason that fake gravy can never live up to the flavor of real gravy is simply due to the ingredients. Fake gravy tries to copy the flavor and feel with artificial ingredients and excessive amounts of thickener (gravy flavored paste, anyone?), real gravy is just… well… real. It’s like the old saying goes “you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse”.
This recipe works with any type of roast turkey recipe (sorry fried turkey fans, you’ll have to come up with something else). I also use the giblets, which I know not everyone likes, but they really add a lot more flavor and good texture, so give it a try if you haven’t before. You could also do this any time with chicken, just decrease the amount of water for the giblet broth by half, or if your chicken didn’t come with the giblets use the same amount of chicken broth instead.
I have worked this recipe out over the years based on collecting the juices and drippings from a wet-brined turkey roasted in a deep roasting pan. This way the juices won’t evaporate and they already come packed with flavor. Juices from a dry-brined turkey should also work, and even a non-brined one, too. Just adjust seasoning as desired. The real trick is balancing thickener with drippings, broth, and milk.
Honest to Goodness Turkey Gravy Recipe
This first part can be done in advance. Once you have the turkey defrosted enough that you can get to the giblets, you are good to go!
- Place the giblets, including the neck bone, in a sauce pot just large enough to hold them. Add cold water to cover, around 3 cups. You can add seasonings to this water, but make sure whatever you use is compatible with what you used on your bird. I will usually add a generous teaspoon of McCormick’s Italian Herb Seasoning blend, and the same amount of a seasoning blend made with dried vegetables, salt and pepper. This is what I use in my brine.
- Bring the giblets to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down to maintain a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for an hour. You want the meat to be easily removed from the neck, but not for the bones to fall apart as they are small and a pain to pick out. After the hour, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool while still covered. (Save the leftover neck bones along with that of your turkey carcass to make broth!)
- Once the giblets are cool enough to handle, remove them from the broth and chop them finely. The neck meat is often easier to tease away from the bones by using a small fork. Set both meat and broth aside until the turkey is done being cooked. If you’ve prepared it more than a few hours in advance, place these items in the refrigerator until the turkey is cooked.
Once the turkey is done and has been safely transferred from the roasting pan (and hopefully not flopped onto you or the floor!), pour out ALL the drippings into a large measuring cup and add all the broth. Be sure to scrape out all those tasty bits that might be a little stuck, because life is too short to miss out on that.
- You will need 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and 1/4 – 1/3 cup milk for every 2 cups of the broth-drippings liquid. Lightly “fluff” the flour with a fork before measuring so it’s not too packed.
- Place the needed amount of flour in a large enough sauce pot and add an equal amount of the broth-drippings liquid to it. Whisk it all together until smooth.
- Place the pot on the stove and turn to medium heat. Constantly whisk while adding the rest of the liquid slowly. One hand pours, the other whisks.
- Increase heat to high and add the milk, starting with the lower amount. Continue whisking. You want the higher heat to help the gravy thicken, but you don’t want to boil it! If this begins to happen, remove the pot from the heat for a moment and turn the temperature down. (Boiling can cause the fats in the gravy to separate from the rest of the mixture and it can’t be undone, so not good!)
- Add the chopped giblets and stir them in. Check the gravy for your preferred texture and taste. Add more seasonings and/or milk as desired. Remember that flavor and thickness will intensify as the gravy has a chance to sit.
- If by any chance that turkey did flop on the floor, don’t worry. After you’re done crying, clean it up, have another drink, and remember you’ll still have an amazing gravy to serve over the dressing and mashed potatoes. You’re still good. Enjoy!!