Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Make-Ahead Turkey Stock and Gravy

With all the other things you have to fuss with at the last minute, why fiddle with making the gravy when you can do so ahead, and get the same great results?  Here's what I do to save time and stress.

At your local butcher or grocery store, purchase 6 pounds of inexpensive of turkey parts, such as wings, legs, backs, and necks.  You'll also need:

5 ribs chopped celery
1 large, onion, chopped
1 head garlic, crushed
12 cups canned or fresh chicken broth
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Place turkey parts in a roaster, and brown them lightly over a large burner on your cooktop.  Because of the fat content already present, you shouldn't need any extra oil in the roaster.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and transfer roaster to the oven.  Roast for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, and add the chopped vegetables and the chicken broth.  Return to oven and continue cooking for an additional hour.  Cool.  Remove chicken parts from roaster with a slotted spoon.  Scrape bottom of roaster to remove baked on bits.  Strain stock and place in the refrigerator for a few hours so the stock congeals and the fat solidifies at the top.  Lift the fat off the stock and discard.

At this point, the stock can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Two to three days ahead of Thanksgiving:
Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  I've found that a flat whisk works really well for blending liquids into a roux (fat and flour mixture).  Gradually add the stock, whisking until smooth.  Bring to a boil, simmer 2 minutes to thicken, then reduce heat to medium low; simmer another 10 minutes.  Season to taste.  Makes about six cups of golden brown turkey gravy.

The finished gravy will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Note: if you are intent upon using the drippings from your Thanksgiving turkey for last-minute gravy, consider using the make-ahead stock instead of chicken broth or water.  You won't believe how deliciously rich your gravy will be!

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