We use browned flour, cooked until it is the color of a wooden spoon, to add rich deep flavor while it thickens our gravy.
Makes 1 cup
Add 1–2 cups flour to a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the flour begins to turn a warm beige color; then stir frequently until the flour turns golden brown, about 1 hour. Store in an air tight container.
Makes 8 cups
While the turkey roasts, make the turkey stock by gently simmering the neck, giblets, and heart (save the liver for another use) in a large pot with 10 cups salted water, 1 quartered onion, 1 chopped and peeled carrot, and 1 chopped celery rib over medium heat. After 3–4 hours, and by the time the turkey is out of the oven, you have a flavorful broth for making gravy. If there’s not enough, simply add chicken stock to make 8 cups. The turkey neck has lots of good meat on it; chop it, along with the giblets, and add it to the gravy, if you like.
Makes 6–8 cups
When the turkey comes out of the oven, transfer it from the roasting pan to a cutting board or a large platter. Put the roasting pan on the stove top straddling two burners. Bring the pan drippings to a simmer over medium heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a whisk or wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Sprinkle 1 cup browned flour into the simmering pan drippings and whisk until smooth and thickened, about 1 minute. While whisking constantly, pour in 8 cups turkey stock. Simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is thick and smooth, 10–15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot in a gravy boat.
Canal House Cooks Every Day by Hamilton & Hirsheimer, Andrews McMeel 2012.
Richard Wrangham, a professor at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire, studies the role of cooking in human evolution. "Once you start thinking about the importance of cooking -- its supply of energy, its strange distribution compared to natural foods -- it's bound to have affected our evolution hugely, our behavior, our society, our cognition, all sorts of features about us," he says.