Friday, November 6, 2009
Date Cooked: October 12, 2009
When I was but a wee lad growing up I detested gravy. You couldn’t put it anywhere near my plate. Then I of course grew up and after realizing how many dry mashed potatoes and dried white turkey could have been saved with gravy I accepted it. And then I turned acceptance into a full out love of gravy. It would not be uncommon for me to add more gravy than food it was to cover. A Thanksgiving dinner would be turned into a quasi stew as I ladled on the gravy.
Speaking of gravy I remember the first time I had gravy at my in-laws. They commonly use vinegar gravy, something I had up until that point never had before. I, in my usual excess gravy fashion ladled this all over my dinner. Had my first bite and it immediately became clear to everyone that something was amiss. I tried to hide my surprise at the unexpected flavor but they noticed and they laughed. Every time I eat dinner there I am always sure to check the gravy before pouring it over my food.
I’ve never made gravy before. That’s right, for all of my love of gravy I have never made it myself, so I had high hopes for this gravy, simply because it was gravy. Making gravy requires three stages. At least this recipe did but I imagine most authenticate gravies are made in a similar fashion.
Stage one starts out with the giblets and turkey neck being sauteed. After a few minutes I threw in some onions and once nicely browned I covered everything and let it cook on low for about 20 minutes. After that I added some stock, water and herbs (thyme and parsley) and brought it to a boil before simmering uncovered for 30 minutes. It is a good thing that I did this stage in the morning. Once cooked, I strained everything through a fine mesh strainer and set the gravy stock aside. The giblets and turkey neck were to be reserved for later use but I did not like the idea of re-adding the meat to the gravy (and neither did my wife), so in a rare moment of deviation, I omitted it. That being said my dog feasted on the gizzards (minus the heart which I ate… not very good after being cooked for 50 minutes) and shredded turkey meat.
Stage two thickens the gravy and gets completed close to the end of the turkey’s roasting time. In this stage a roux of butter and flour is made and then most of the gravy stock is whisked into it and then simmered until it thickens.
Stage three is the final stage and uses the drippings from the turkey pan to complete. The roasting pan is set over two burners and then using white wine and some reserved gravy stock the whole thing is simmered until the liquid is reduced by half. The liquid is strained and then defatted. Once done it gets whisked into the thickened gravy from stage two. Gravy complete.
Rating: B-. It was good gravy. I loved it as much as I like all gravy. But it did not blow me away. I expected something almost magical but it tasted almost the same as packaged gravy, but most likely much better for me. I guess I am trying to say the work was not really worth the result. I spent a lot of time making the gravy which could have been used doing something else. If it was something that could be made in less than 30 minutes with minimal effort I would absolutely make this more often. But until then it will be a special occasion recipe.