While the turkey is great during Thanksgiving dinner, I am all about the sides. I would be happy with a big bowl of mashed potatoes or the dressing smothered in my homemade Turkey Gravy recipe. Which, by the way, I have been making since I was a little girl. That’s right, once I was big enough and had figured it out on my own, I was the gravy girl around my house during the holidays. The key to my amazing turkey gravy recipe starts with making a Homemade Turkey Stock, and my recipe is the bomb!
Big turkey gravy pet peeve of mine is that most people use chicken stock. This is usually the way it goes, and I know as my grandmother and great aunts did the same thing. Boil the neck and giblets in some water with maybe a little seasoning. Then it comes time to make the gravy, they brown up some flour with the pan drippings, add the boiled neck juice, whisk away and then add CHICKEN STOCK. People, this is not turkey gravy, it is faux turkey gravy.
We put all our time and energy into making a great bird, hours brining, and then basting and roasting and more basting, until golden brown. Put some effort into the gravy, make turkey stock, it isn’t that hard. When I know, I am going to be home, and the holiday is around the corner I pick up some turkey parts and go to work. I use the back as well as some wings when making this homemade stock. I season with olive oil, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme, then roast for two hours until golden brown.
Once the turkey is golden brown, I toss it into a large stock pan along with some onion, garlic, celery, carrots and more herbs. Leave the skin on the onion as well as the garlic, it adds more flavor. Now you know my secret for making all stocks as well as cooking beans. I add water to the pot and let everything work its’ magic for hours over a very low simmer. If, I have time, I will let the stock chill in the pot, then put it into the refrigerator overnight, and simmer the next day for 4 hours. That is not necessary as the flavor will still be richer than a box of chicken stock when making turkey gravy.
If I am not using right away I store the stock in the freezer to use at a later time either for gravy or soups.