Yield
Serves 12 to 16 (makes 4 cups)
Time
2 hours 10 minutes total

For a turkey gravy that really tastes like the bird but doesn't require drippings, we began by making a full-flavored turkey stock that included not just the neck and giblets but also some excess skin and fat from the turkey—powerhouse sources of turkey flavor. We started our untraditional method for making turkey stock by simmering the neck, giblets, and trimmings in chicken broth in a Dutch oven (chosen instead of a saucepan for its greater surface area); doing so efficiently extracted flavor-packed juices and fat from the parts that browned and formed a rich fond once the liquid evaporated. We then sautéed chopped carrot, celery, and onion for aromatic depth; deglazed the pot with white wine; added more chicken broth; simmered the stock (covered to prevent evaporation) for about an hour; and strained out the solids. We didn't defat the stock, since the aromatic compounds in the bird's fat contributed a significant amount of turkey flavor. Then, to turn the stock into a gravy, we made a roux by toasting flour in melted butter and whisking the stock into the roux.

[Ed. Note: Hear and read more about game-changing gravy techniques from America Test Kitchen's Lan Lam here.]

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken broth, divided, plus extra as needed
  • Reserved turkey neck and giblets
  • Reserved turkey trimmings, cut into 1-inch pieces (1/3 cup)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 8 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup defatted turkey drippings (optional)

Direrctions

Much of this gravy's flavor is derived from the trimmed skin and fat plus the neck and giblets of a turkey. Use kitchen shears to cut away extra skin from the neck region (leaving enough to cover the opening) and any loose fat from the cavity. Cut large pieces of skin into 1-inch pieces. If your turkey does not have excess skin or fat, use kitchen shears to snip off the tail and cut it into three or four pieces to use as trimmings. Do not use the liver that is packaged with the giblets. The gravy's consistency can be adjusted to suit your taste: Simmer longer for a thicker gravy or thin with additional broth for a thinner gravy. This gravy is better with turkey drippings; you can add them either in step 4 or when reheating the gravy. To double the recipe, double all the ingredients including the trimmings and make the stock in two separate pots.

1. Bring 2 cups broth, reserved neck and giblets, and reserved trimmings to simmer in Dutch oven over high heat. Cook, adjusting heat to maintain vigorous simmer and stirring occasionally, until all liquid evaporates and trimmings begin to sizzle, about 20 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until dark fond forms on bottom of pot, 2 to 4 minutes longer.

2. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, garlic, pepper, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Stir in wine and bring to simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Add remaining 4 cups broth and bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Strain stock through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl; discard solids. (You should have 3½ to 4 cups stock. Turkey stock can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

4. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in strained stock. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add drippings, if using, and thin gravy with extra broth, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. (Gravy can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks; to reheat, bring to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.)

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