Recipe:Gravy For The Perfect Roast Turkey
The perfect roast turkey needs, as an accompaniment, the perfect gravy. So here it is!
For your convenience, I've keyed each of these steps to the steps in the turkey recipe, so you can easily coordinate the two.
- A fairly large, heavy bottomed pot. I recommend that it can hold at least 64 ounces.
- A strainer
- A second pot
- A small sautee pan
- A whisk
- The giblets from the turkey
- Two pints of unsalted chicken stock. Home-made is, naturally, best. If you can't get it unsalted, use one pint of salted and one pint of water.
- One cup of port
- 4 tablespoons of flour
- 4 to 6 tablespoons of turkey fat (from the pan you're cooking the turkey in)
- 2 onions
- 4 stalks of celery
- 4 carrots
- 2 shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Black pepper and salt to taste
The Extra Bits
As noted, save the giblets. Put them in tupperware or a zipper bag, in the refrigerator.
This is an excellent time to get the gravy ingredients ready.
Take the giblets, and set aside the liver. Those are the especially slippery, slimy bits. Mince them finely, and then put them back into the refrigerator. Take the neck, and using a heavy knife or cleaver, chop it into one or two inch segments. Take the other bits (the heart and the gizzard, if you need to know) and dice them.
Take the carrots, celery, onions, and shallots, and dice them. Take the garlic cloves and mince or press them.
The Last Laps
Once the turkey is flipped, but right before you put it back into the oven, take two tablespoons of fat from the bottom of the turkey pan and put them into your heavy bottomed pot. Then put the turkey back into the oven.
Heat up the fat in the pan. When it's hot enough, add in the diced vegetables and sautee on very high heat. You want the vegetables to brown on the edges, without burning. Once they do, add in the chopped meat (the gizzard, heart, and neck, but not the liver), and sautee until they start to brown a little too.
Cover with a pint of chicken stock, and immediately turn to a simmer. Make sure that the solids in the pot are always covered with liquid, but don't drown them.
When you remove the turkey from the oven, take it out of the roasting pan. The simplest way to do this is to just pull the rack out and put it in another pan, but you can put the turkey on a serving platter. Pour the hot liquid out of the roasting pan into a dish or bowl. Any bits of stuffing that may have fallen into the pan, remove.
Now deglaze the pan. This is done by putting it over a burner turned on low, pouring a thinnish layer - enough to cover the bottom of the pan in a centimeter or so of liquid - of unsalted chicken stock (or water) into the pan, and using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the stuck on bits on the bottom. You want it all, as everything down there is concentrated delicious. It should only take a few minutes to get it all.
Pour the resulting liquid into the heavy bottomed pot. Add a cup of port to the pot at the same time. Heat that through, give it some vigorous stirring, and then pour it out into a second pot, through a strainer to remove the vegetables and meat chunks. Turn the heat to simmer.
You should now have about two pints of strongly flavored (though not salty) stock simmering on the stove. If you have less, make up the difference with chicken stock (or by adding the solids back to the first pot, adding some water, and boiling for a few minutes). If you have more, you can either reduce it for a few minutes or (if it tastes rich and full bodied), just accepting the bounty that the universe presents.
For each cup of stock that you do have, add one tablespoon of turkey fat (from what you poured off of the pan before deglazing) to a sautee pan. Heat that up until fragrant. Add one tablespoon of flour for each tablespoon of turkey fat. With a whisk or a spoon, blend the flour and fat while heating until it turns a lovely golden color. Add this to the simmering stock, and whisk it in. Turn the heat up until the gravy starts to boil, and then immediately turn it down to a simmer.
Wipe out the sautee pan, add one more little dollop of turkey fat, and add in the minced turkey liver. Once this is cooked through, add it to the stock.
Carve And Eat
Eat some turkey with the gravy.