Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope you have a great Turkey Day, complete with Family, Friends and your favorite Holiday Food. I am going to be making a turkey, turkey gravy, mashed parsnip potatoes, broiled parmesan broccoli, greenbeans with red grapes and persillade, and that standby: canned jellied cranberries. I have already made my Shrimp & Ham Cornbread Stuffing, which I froze, so I will just reheat that. Still thinking about dessert.
Earlier this week, I received an email from one of my loyal readers asking for a turkey gravy recipe. I thought if she might want one, so might you. So here goes:
I use the liquid from the bottom of the roaster after the turkey is taken out. I like to make about a quart or more of gravy, so if there isn’t that much in the roaster, I add up to a whole can of low sodium chicken broth to it. I scrape up all the solids from the bottom and sides of the roaster into the liquid. I also try to get as much of the brown caramelized stuff from the sides of the roaster. The French call that stuff ‘fond’ and that is where all the flavor is concentrated. Rub and chip at it to get it all. Then pour everything in the roaster through a fine mesh sieve into a tall-sided sauce pan. Press down to extract as much juice as possible. With a large spoon or ladle skim off as much fat as possible and put it in a cup by the stove. Bring the turkey liquid almost to a boil over medium low heat.
I thicken my gravy with what the French call beurre manié, or butterpaste, which is an equal amount of flour and cold butter mashed together in a small bowl with a spoon into a malleable white paste, with no identifiable butter or flour showing. I use about 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup flour.
Turn up the heat of the simmering liquid so it is boiling. With a slender whisk, scoop up part of the beurre manié and whisk it into the liquid. The flour particles are all coated with butter so they cannot stick together and there will be no lumps. Add as much of the beurre manié to make the gravy to your desired thickness. It must boil for a while to thicken completely. Keep at a low boil for about 30 minutes, skimming off the white bubbly stuff and discarding it in the cup.
Now the secret ingredient: Kitchen Bouquet. Add a couple of drops to enhance the flavor and deepen the color. It’s best to pour into a spoon first so you don’t get too much. Add one drop at a time and whisk in completely. You don’t want to have black gravy. I learned this trick from my Mom in the 1950s.
When the gravy is done cooking, taste and add a good pinch of salt if necessary. Stir and taste. I like my gravy really salty, so I usually add more, until that gravy tastes like the best gravy you have ever had. It sings. It’s bold. It’s rich. It’s the essence of turkey flavor distilled. It makes your turkey slices, stuffing and potatoes taste like a magical Thanksgiving.
So that is how I make my turkey gravy. My Mom used to thicken her gravy with what she called in Norwegian “yummning”, which was a flour and water slurry shaken together in a jar. It was very good, but mine will knock your socks off.