Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey day cometh! Have you Gravy?

I got caught a bit off guard. It wasn't as if I didn't know it was November. I certainly know what month it is, I just can't believe Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. I just want to know where the entirety of November vanished to.

I love the holiday season. The cooking, the eating, the family gatherings, the decorating. So even though I have no idea what happened to the rest of November, I have been prepping for dinner on Friday. Yeah, I know Thanksgiving is on the Thursday, but I will be working, as will my mom, so my family is having our dinner on Friday.

So, my Mom is handling the turkey(s). I will share the recipe for those after Friday, but we always brine our turkey, and sometimes we roast it, others we smoke them, I think we will have one of each this year.

One issue we do have when we smoke the bird is the complete lack of dripping to makes gravy with. We'd have the giblets, but they didn't have the great taste of roasting to add to the gravy. Last year, I found the answer. One of our local grocers has a pretty good butchers counter, and they always have the random turkey pieces most people don't buy, like the necks and wings. I mean honestly, who asks for the turkey wing? Ok, maybe me, but most people skip that. And I certainly don't go looking for turkey neck.

The neck and wings have a lot of meat on them plus a lot of the smaller bones, which makes a really good basis for stock which makes for a really good gravy.

So, carrots, onions, celery, some garlic and the turkey parts. A good, basic stock, so what's so magical and different about this stock?

The roasting.

Roasting everything before covering with water and cooking for an hour or so makes for what is likely the best stock I've ever made. And makes for a really good gravy for those mashed potatoes without hoping you get a lot of good drippings from your roast turkey, or if you smoke or even deep fry a turkey, this is what you need. And the color is beautiful, making a really nice, rich, brown gravy.

Also, any extra you have will make a really great soup with some of the leftover turkey.

Roasted Turkey Stock for Thanksgiving Gravy

Adapted from Noble Pig, which I use quite often. Please feel free to use her recipe for the gravy, as I will likely use a slightly different recipe on Friday. It may involve bacon fat. I don't know quite yet.

2 turkey wings and 2 turkey necks
1 bunch celery, cut in half
2 onion, cut into chunks (go ahead and leave the skins on)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 carrots, cleaned and cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and in a large pan, roast turkey parts, celery, onion, garlic and carrots for 2 hours.  Remove from the oven.

Add water to cover and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer on low for one hour, uncovered.  Stock will reduce.

Strain the stock into a bowl with at least a 4 cup capacity.  Place liquid into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight and remove the fat accumulated on top.

You can now use the stock however you'd like. For gravy, start with a roux and add the stock, until thickened. Like I mentioned above, Cathy from Noble Pig has very good directions for the gravy portion.

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