Wednesday, October 12, 2011

just the gravy

Sometimes holidays can be stressful, and getting caught up in the details can make gathering of family and friends...less festive.

After hosting Thanksgiving for so many years, I have the routine down pat and have menus, schedules and lists permanently on my computer to make everything run smoothly.  But what really has evolved over the years, is a solid sense of tradition.  A tradition of having Thanksgiving at our house.  Of being greeted at the door with the comforting smells of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing.  Everyone knows what menu to expect, what to bring, who will come.  Knowing that we'll be eating turkey for days afterwards.  The "same old, same old" has become something expected.  If something or someone is absent, they will be missed.

There is a sense of security with allows the family to bond knowing that all the little details are taken care of, so we can focus on more important things, like being grateful to be able to spend time with each other.  It's not just about the food, or the table settings or the decor, but more importantly, about what happens around the table.  The laughter. The pleasure. The comfort.  

Because really...the turkey, the pumpkins, the pretty dishes...we'll that's just the gravy!

Herb Infused Turkey Gravy
This gravy is fantastic for post-Thanksgiving hot turkey sandwiches.

Homemade turkey stock
  • Giblets and neck reserved from the turkey (or left over turkey bones)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, coarsely chopped and washed well
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf

For the gravy
  • 3/4 cup of homemade turkey stock, above
  • 3 tablespoons or reserved turkey drippings
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons of flour

Preparation of stock
I usually make the turkey stock while the turkey roasts...if you're doing this after Thanksgiving, just save the bones from the carved turkey in the fridge and use it or the giblets the next day.  This can also be done in the crock pot.  Just put everything into the crackpot and simmer on high for 6-8 hours.
  • Pan sear the giblets and neck of the turkey
  • Bundle thyme, parsley, rosemary and tie with kitchen twine to make bouquet garni.  Set aside.
  • Melt butter over medium high heat, add celery, carrot, leak and onion and cook until soft.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add giblets, neck, bouquet garni, bay leaf and 4 cups of water.  Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover, reduce heat and cook for approximately 1 hour. 
  • Remove contents, but keep stock, refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Preparation of gravy
  • Melt butter in sauce pan.
  • Add flour, and stir until a paste.
  • Add reserved turkey drippings and continue to stir.
  • Add turkey stock and whisk, adding more or less until desired consistency.
  • Serve.

Make sandwiches with left over turkey, and pour gravy on top.

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