Real Turkey Stock & Thanksgiving Gravy
A cozy and comforting broth like no other makes the perfect gravy for any turkey this holiday season!
|3 Quarts (Approx.)||20 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|3-1/2 to 4 hours||3 to 3-1/2 hours|
For the Stock:
- 4 pounds turkey legs and/or thighs bone-in, skin-on
- 2 pounds turkey wings
- 2 large carrots roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks preferably with leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 yellow onions roughly chopped with skin on
- 1 head garlic unpeeled and halved width-wise
- 8 - 10 sprigs thyme (about 1 small bunch)
- 10 sprigs parsley
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 t-spoons whole black peppercorns
- 3 - 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Splash dry white wine such as chardonnay (optional)
- Turkey neck and giblets (EXCEPT liver)
- 5 quarts cold water
- 2 - 3 t-spoons kosher salt
For the Gravy (for every quart of stock):
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 tablespoons butter softened at room temperature
- 6 - 7 tablespoons pan drippings from turkey roasting pan (strained through a fine mesh sieve)
Servings: Quarts (Approx.)
To make the stock:
- Place a enameled cast iron Dutch oven or some other large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes to heat it through.
- Toss the turkey legs and/or thighs with enough oil to lightly coat them. Increase the heat to medium/medium-high, give it a minute or two, and sear the turkey skin-side down in batches until browned. Flip them over and sear another few minutes before moving to a large stockpot (something fairly wide, too, to aid in the reduction of the stock) and carry on with searing, including the neck and giblets.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan and tumble in the vegetables—cook for about 5 – 7 minutes, until slightly browned on the outside and just beginning to soften. Toss in the herbs, bay leaf and peppercorns and stir just to combine.
- If you’re using the wine, glug in a splash or two to deglaze the pan before dumping everything into the stockpot with the turkey. Pour over the water, and bring it to a gentle simmer without letting it boil. Season it with salt and skim any impurities that float to the top.
- You can simmer for 1 ½ hours before removing the turkey and continue to simmer for 1 – 1 ½ hours more (using the turkey meat for another purpose). If you simmer the stock with the turkey in it for the entire time it won’t have much flavor left to it when done so it’s best to just discard it.
- Strain the stock through a colander to remove all the vegetables and such, and then again, having lined the colander with at least 2 layers of cheesecloth to catch any stray bits. Check for seasoning, adding a bit of salt if needed, and for strength—keep in mind that when it comes time to make the gravy you’ll simmer the stock a bit so it will reduce a little then especially if you’re fortifying it with the neck and giblets later.
- Cool the stock to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for a day so you can scrape the access fat off.
- This will keep in the fridge for about a week, or in the freezer for 4 – 6 months.
To make the gravy:
- (If you have necks and giblets to fortify the stock with heat a bit of butter and oil in a saucepan, about 4-quart in size. Sear the necks and giblets (EXCEPT the liver—save this for another use or discard it) in the pan on each side briefly before pouring in the stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and keep it there for an hour. Then, remove the organs and such, discard, and carry on.)
- Put the stock in a saucepan that fits it very comfortably (about 4-quart in size). Bring it to a boil.
- Meanwhile, mash together about ½ cup flour with 4 tablespoons of butter until it’s combined as much as possible. Take any pan drippings from your roasted turkey, having strained them through a fine mesh sieve to catch any stray bits until you have about 6 – 7 tablespoons, and whisk enough into the flour-butter mash until you have a smooth, but thick, paste.
- Once the stock is boiling, add about half of the flour-butter-dripping mix to it, whisking the stock vigorously all the while. Let it boil for a couple minutes, then knock back the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Check the thickness—if you want it thicker, repeat the boil-whisk-simmer process above. The additional thickening required will vary; the natural collagen and gelatin in the turkey bones and skin help to aid thickening (which is why the stock will shake like Jell-O when it’s cold), but the levels of collagen vary slightly per animal, as do our preferences for gravy thickness. I usually end up using the whole flour mix in mine.
- Make the stock at least 3 days in advance—this way it has time to chill in the fridge so the fat can be easily skimmed
- I usually use the neck and giblets from my turkey, so I wait until Thanksgiving day to sear and simmer them in the stock