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by Diane Rossen Worthington
Preparing the gravy at the last minute, after the turkey comes out of the oven, can create a lot of extra pressure when you still have to put everything on the table. Try this method and have the gravy ready and waiting for the defatted pan drippings from the turkey, cutting down the last-minute work to just a few moments.
In order to have tasty gravy you'll need a rich stock. This convenient recipe is what you might call semi-homemade. It combines store-bought unsalted chicken stock with browned turkey necks. The cooking time may be a few hours, but the put-together time is just a few minutes. To make it even easier, prepare your stock weeks ahead and freeze it.
The intense flavor of rich, brown turkey stock makes the difference between a good and a great gravy. If you are lucky to have any leftover, it freezes well.
Turkey Gravy Tips:
Add 1/2 cup cooked, chopped giblets
Add 1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms
1/2 cup diced roasted chestnuts
1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic Puree
Replace the red wine with cognac, port, apple brandy or sherry.
For vegetarians: use a good quality vegetable stock instead of the easy turkey stock.
Use a fat separator to de-fat the drippings.
Easy Turkey Stock
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Yield: Makes about 6 cups (freeze any leftover for soups or sauces)
Easy Turkey Stock Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds turkey necks and backs
3 (32 ounce) cartoons low sodium chicken stock
1 quart (32 ounces) water
Easy Turkey Stock Recipe Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a 6-quart stockpot on medium-high heat. Brown the turkey pieces, turning with tongs for about 10 minutes. Add the stock and water, which should come up almost to the top of the pot. Slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered. Remove the scum from the stock with a slotted spoon. Turn down the heat as low as possible and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours or until the stock has reduced by half. Add salt to taste. Taste for seasoning.
2. Strain the stock through a colander or strainer into a plastic container. Let it cool, cover and refrigerate. When chilled, with a large spoon remove the hardened fat from the surface and discard it.
3. If not using immediately, pour the stock into containers and refrigerate.
Advance Preparation: If not used within 3 days, the stock should be frozen, defrosted and then reboiled before using. Freeze for convenient use.
Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: Makes About 3 1/2 Cups
Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose
4 cups Easy Turkey Stock (see above defatted and warmed)
1/2 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Defatted drippings from a roast turkey
Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy Recipe Instructions
1. In a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, watching carefully so it does not burn. Add the flour slowly and whisk briskly until bubbles form. Continue whisking for a few minutes until the mixture thickens and turns a golden brown color. The color of this roux is important, because it determines the final color of the sauce.
2. Add the stock and wine, and whisk until the roux is completely blended into the liquid. Continue cooking the gravy on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is thickened and no taste of flour remains. Add the salt and pepper, and taste for seasoning.
3. After you remove the turkey from the oven, strain the pan drippings into a fat separator and pour the defatted drippings into the gravy. Warm the gravy over medium heat and season to taste. If desired, add one of the additions suggested above to the gravy.
Advance Preparation: Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead through step 2, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat gently.
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