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Author Notes: Gravy, especially Thanksgiving Dinner gravy, can make—or break—a meal. With a little advance work, this method should make for some happy mashed potatoes and stuffing! - North Country Rambler —North Country Rambler
Food52 Review: This recipe was super-simple. I was planning to make my own stock but the recipe calls for 4 chicken carcasses so I instead bought the best I could find, all natural and organic. I stirred every once in a while as the gravy was simmering and it ended up nice and smooth, with no lumps or pasty uncooked flour taste. The mushrooms were a great addition because with every bite of gravy you got a small piece of mushroom. This gravy was a big hit not only with me and my husband but also with our five kids. Even my son who doesn't like mushrooms is a fan. I will definitely be making this on Thanksgiving. – Chef Mama —The Editors
First, make a stock
- 4 (Leftover) roast chicken carcasses
- 6 peeled carrots
- 2 onions, quartered
- 4 celery stalks, halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 Roasted turkey wings (optional)
- Making a stock is the most important part of making a gravy. Yes, you can buy prepared or canned stock. Don't! Pick a Saturday afternoon when you will be home catching up on cleaning, or replacing the back patio decking, and make your own. It's easy. It just takes time.
- Place the cleaned chicken carcasses, onions, and carrots in a roasting pan. For genuine "Thanksgiving Turkey Gravy" stock, add the two turkey wings. Place in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. Your nose will tell you when its done. The carcass bones should be caramel brown.
- Place the roasted carcasses, onions and carrots with the celery and thyme in a large stock pot and cover the contents with water. After the water simmers, add a tablespoon of salt, and the bay leaves and peppercorns. (Salting before the water boils can pit your pots). Simmer uncovered all day long (at least four hours), until the volume is reduced by about half.
- Remove from stove, remove the chicken carcasses. When you can handle the pot, strain the stock by pouring through a colander draped with cheese cloth, or a chinois if you have one. (If you have a chinois you already know how to do this.)
- Cool the stock. If the temperature allows (below 40), I place my strained stock, in the stock pot, out on the back porch. Make sure that the bears have denned up for the winter or you may have company. (In Brooklyn this is not a problem) Refrigerators work well for this part of the process too.
- A layer of fat will form on the top of the stock when it cools. Remove it with a slotted spoon. Place the stock in leftover containers and freeze for future use.
Making the gravy.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 6 button mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- Warm two quarts of stock on the stove and reserve for use.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cook the roux for a few minutes until it begins to turn brown. Roux means reddish brown in French. Make it so. Raw flour, either from an undercooked roux, or added directly to gravy, tastes like raw flour, and is probably the reason that you are looking for a new gravy recipe.
- When the roux is properly browned, ladle a cup of warmed stock into your sauce pan. The resulting contents will literally burst into a thick bubbly gravy, which at this point is too thick to use. Continue ladling stock to the gravy until it is a little too thin for your liking. (P.S. I gave up long ago on trying to add turkey "drippings" or "browned bits" from the roasting pan. Typically the drippings are rendered fat and the bits are sitting in fat. With a proper stock as a base, you will have plenty of flavor.)
- Simmer for ten minutes until it reduces slightly in volume. Salt and pepper to taste. Add some sliced sauteed mushrooms for a nice finish. (Optional) Serve with your grandmother's stuffing recipe and try to look humble.