When I roast a turkey, I always make gravy to go with it. I roast chickens often, yet never make a pan gravy to go alongside– it isn’t part of my roast chicken tradition. But for roast turkey—pass the gravy, please!
Making gravy takes about 15 minutes, so I usually make it after the turkey is out of the oven, resting before carving. But if you feel rushed, and don’t mind missing out on the pan juices, you can make the gravy ahead of time using butter or some fat from the roasting turkey that you collect with your turkey baster. When I was growing up, my mother always put finely chopped giblets from the giblet broth in the gravy. Sometimes I do that but most often I leave them out, just enjoying a smooth gravy.
I make the turkey giblet broth the evening before Thanksgiving, or first thing in the morning. The broth is used in the stuffing as well as for making the gravy.
Turkey Giblet Broth
Neck and heart and gizzard (giblets) from turkey (not including liver)
3 ½ cups water
1 onion, cut into eighths
1 celery stalk with leaves, chopped
3 fresh parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, skimming the surface with a slotted spoon to remove any foam. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for two hours. Strain the broth, reserving giblets. (Can be prepared the day before roasting the turkey).
Measure out 2 cups of broth to reserve for making gravy. Some of the rest of the broth will go into the stuffing, and the remainder can be added to turkey soup after Thanksgiving.
If making giblet gravy, chop the giblets finely and add to the reserved broth (optional).
5 tablespoons unsalted butter or fat from turkey roasting pan
2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey giblet broth (recipe above)
finely chopped giblets (optional)
pan juices from turkey roasting pan
salt & pepper to taste
Heat 5 tablespoons butter or turkey drippings in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turkey drippings have good flavor, but may be too salty if the turkey was brined, so taste first. To the warm fat, add 2 ½ tablespoons flour and cook, whisking, over low heat, about 4 minutes, or until bubbling and starting to turn a darker color. Gradually whisk in 2 cups turkey giblet broth. You can also add up to ¼ cup additional pan juices from roasting the turkey. Raise heat and bring to a boil, while whisking. Lower the heat and simmer the gravy, whisking occasionally, about 5-10 minutes, or until thick enough to coat a spoon. Taste and adjust seasonings. A little cream may be added for a richer gravy if desired. Put the gravy in a gravy boat or a small pitcher to serve with roast turkey and mashed potatoes.