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Thanksgiving : Making Gravy


Even for those of you who cook turkey at other times of the year, Thanksgiving is probably one of the few occasions you pull out all the stops and also prepare stuffing and gravy. Consequently, a gravy-making refresher course is in order as the holiday approaches.

Begin by removing the neck and giblets from the bird and place them (except for the liver) in a two-quart saucepan. Add four cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 hours (Step 1).

Strain and reserve the stock. Discard the neck, chop the giblets, cover and refrigerate.

When the turkey is roasted, remove it from the oven and transfer onto a platter. Lightly cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes for the juices to set before carving.

Meanwhile, add one cup of the reserved stock to the drippings in the roasting pan (Step 2). Place the pan over medium heat and scrape the browned particles free from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup (Step 3) and let the fat rise to the top.

(To aid in separating the fat from the drippings, specially designed measuring cups are available at a relatively low cost in housewares departments. These have a spout at the bottom, which allows the drippings to be poured off, leaving the fat--Step 4.)

To make two cups of gravy, place 1/4 cup of the turkey fat in a saucepan. (Should there not be enough fat, add butter.) Discard any remaining fat and add enough of the reserved stock to the remaining drippings to equal two cups.

Heat the fat over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup flour (Step 5) and cook, stirring, until bubbly. Remove from heat.

Gradually pour in the stock mixture, stirring constantly (Step 6) with a wire whisk. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring, until the gravy boils and thickens. For thinner gravy, add more broth. Stir in giblets and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: The giblets may be omitted from the gravy and canned chicken broth may be substituted for the homemade broth.

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