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The Best Turkey Gravy

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Ingredients

Turkey giblets
Turkey neck
5 cups Water
Drippings from turkey
3 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Water from boiling potatoes
Salt

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The Best Turkey Gravy

  • Serves 8
  • Medium

About This Recipe

Gravy may seem like just another side dish for Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s actually a really important part of the meal. Gravy ties all of the traditional Thanksgiving foods together. You pour it over the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey and it contains the essence of the bird.

The best gravy is smooth and moderately thick, but not floury. It has incredible flavor, concentrated from the roasted turkey, and it complements all of the food on your plate.

So what’s the secret to the best gravy?

There are actually two secrets: boiling it and adding salt.

To concentrate the flavor in the drippings from the turkey and the broth from the turkey giblets (and a secret ingredient), the gravy should be boiled and boiled for about 10 minutes. During this time, it’s imperative that you stir the gravy pretty much continually with a wire whisk, taste the gravy about every minute, and carefully add a bit of salt, a small pinch at a time.

The only way to know when the gravy is done is to taste it. The flavor will suddenly bloom when the liquid is concentrated and the salt is at just the right amount.

This is the gravy I make every year at Thanksgiving. It uses the drippings from the turkey, broth from the giblets and turkey neck, and an ingredient that adds starch and more flavor: potato water!

Steps

1
Done

During the last hour that the turkey is roasting, combine the giblets and turkey neck with the water in a large saucepan.

2
Done

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the turkey is done.

3
Done

When the turkey is done, remove it from the roasting pan, place on a platter, cover with foil, and set aside.

4
Done

If you'd like, you can skim some of the fat from the surface of the drippings in the roasting pan. I don't do much of this, since so much of the flavor from the turkey is in the fat.

5
Done

In a large saucepan, combine the butter and flour. Cook for three minutes, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, until the mixture bubbles.

6
Done

Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into the saucepan with the butter and flour.

7
Done

Add the broth from the giblets and the turkey neck (discard the solids) and the potato water.

8
Done

Now boil that gravy hard on high heat. It will reduce and become more concentrated. Start adding salt.

9
Done

Taste the gravy while it's boiling (be careful!) and add salt. When the flavor blooms, the gravy is ready.

Linda

Linda Larsen has a B.A. in Biology from St. Olaf College, and a B.S. in Food Science and Nutrition with High Distinction from the University of Minnesota. She has worked for the Pillsbury Company on the Bake-Off and in their test kitchens since 1988. Linda has written 37 cookbooks (and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005.

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