I Am Still Learning: Adventures in Making Gravy

I am 46 years old. I’ve been married for 17 years. And a few days ago, I FINALLY figured out how to make good, consistent turkey gravy. Maybe I’m just an idiot for not figuring it out for so long, but I’m rather pleased with being able to do it.

Now mind you, I’ve probably glanced at a recipe or three about how it’s done. And I watched my mom do it when I was younger. But it was always a hit-or-miss thing with how to get it to come out consistently good, given that there is always a variable amount of turkey fat, pan drippings, etc.

So what I’ve finally figured out is the guidelines to get that all to come around to the right final product, every time.

  1. Simmering the neck/lungs/heart

    Simmer the neck/lungs/heart in about 3-4 cups of water for at least 1/2 hour. Leave out the Liver, it just makes it bitter*. Remove giblets and set the liquor aside.

  2. Oily part of the turkey drippings + butter

    Pour your drippings into a measuring cup, and let it sit there while you prep the other parts. Skim as much of the oily part as you can off the top into a pan, and add a tablespoon or so of butter, get it all melted and hot.

  3. Roux consistency

    A good roux has a consistency. And when you do it enough, you realize you’re in the right range, but there are some general guidelines. Add flour, 1 tablespoons at a time, whisking constantly, until it hits the right consistency range.


    a “white roux”, shown to estimate desired consistency.

  4. Using the dripping and giblet liquor

    Add the drippings to the roux a bit at a time. Start small. Stir with the whisk constantly. This part is absolutely necessary to get a non-clumpy gravy. Once you’ve added in all the pan drippings, if the gravy is still too thick (it probably will be), add the liquor from simmering the giblets a bit at a time until it reaches the consistency you’re looking for.

* I chop up the liver and lightly sautee the liver in a drizzle of olive oil and give it to the cat/dog along with the boiled lungs/heart. Never give a pet the neck, too many small bones.

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