Introduction: Giblet Gravy
I love giblet gravy, and firmly believe that the only proper gravy to serve on Thanksgiving has tasty mystery bits. Be brave, use all parts of the turkey this year, and try your hand at making the best gravy in the world.
This is my version of the giblet gravy my grandaddy would make every year for Christmas. Feel free to modify; this is just a starting point, and everyone's tastes differ. (For example, while you can puree giblet gravy for a smoother texture, I like my chunks large enough to be fun, tasty, and identifiable.) Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!
Step 1: Saute Giblets
Remove the giblets from your bird.
The main body cavity usually houses the neck and tail; a bag of smaller parts may be in the chest cavity or tucked under the skin at the neck. This smaller bag should contain a liver (the big purple blob), the heart, and the gizzard.
Dump the lot into a hot, oiled pan with some pepper and a bay leaf. When you've browned the bits on all sides add a coarsely-chopped onion or two and stir.
Step 2: Deglaze and Boil
When the giblets and onions begin to stick to the pan, deglaze with sherry*.
Simmer and stir to remove any crispy bits from the bottom, then add 2 eggs, vegetables, and water to cover. Simmer for a while, replenishing the liquid as necessary. The eggs will thoroughly hardboil during the process.
2-3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2-3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
*Sherry is a sweet fortified wine; any similar beverage will do. The alcohol cooks off entirely, so it's the sugars and taste complexity you're after.
Step 3: Chop Giblets
Pull the giblets, eggs, and vegetables out of the pot with a slotted spoon, and pour the liquid into a temporary storage container.
Chop the liver, heart, gizzard, veggies, and eggs (after peeling). Pull meat from the neck and tail, and chop it into bits as well. Set aside. You'll probably want smaller chunks than I've used below; I was just a bit lazy.
Step 4: Make Roux
Because I like my flour cooked, we're going to make a bit of a roux.
Pul out your pan again (hopefully you didn't bother cleaning it) and add the grease of your choice: butter, any type of oil, or the grease floating at the top of the turkey pan will all work, though of course some are inherently tastier. Add enough grease to cover the pan, with a bit of extra to roll around when you tilt it.
Add a couple of tablespoons of flour and stir. Add more grease if you need to- you want this to be a soft porridgy mix. Continue stirring to cook the flour; the roux will darken as the flour cooks. Proceed to the next step when you reach a color you like, or when you're tired of stirring.
Step 5: Add Liquid
Slowly pour the still-warm liquid into the pan, stirring as you go to thoroughly incorporate it. You may prefer to use a whisk for this step to avoid clumping.
Add any additional juices from the turkey (after skimming off the fat) and the reserved chopped giblets and such. Stir around for a bit to let everything mingle properly.
Now's the time to add any extras you may like: I added fresh parsley and some lemon zest, but most any fresh herbs or dried spices could be nice, as would some grated garlic or ginger if it complements the rest of dinner.
Step 6: Season and Serve
Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust any of the other flavors as you see fit.
Place in an appropriate receptacle and serve warm. Because this is by definition a chunky gravy it won't pour neatly, so give it a ladle.
Giblet gravy is fabulous on southern-style white rice, but the rest of us happily put it on turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, or any other starchy food in sight.
Last year we ONLY made giblet gravy for our crowd of 26, and had no complaints. In previous years I've made both, and had to deal with constant questions about exactly what giblets were, and what a gizzard does. Fron now on: one gravy, no questions asked, everyone happy.