My Best Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner

A Happy Thanksgiving to my American followers.

I hope that you are having an amazing day, watched the Macy’s Day parade and ready for football with family and friends while your feast is roasting and simmering away on the stove.

This is the last post for My Best Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner will be the best compliment to all the past recipes I have posted for your Thanksgiving feast.

Check them all out here by clicking links below:

My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner

My Best Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

and the most popular My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

My Best Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 6-8
Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Mise En Place

Turkey Stock

Turkey Necks and Vegetables for Stock

Turkey Necks and Vegetables for Stock

  • Neck from your turkey
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 stalks celery
  • parsley stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4-6 cups cold water

Combine neck bone, onion, garlic cloves, carrots, parsley stems, bay leaves and celery stalks and 4-6 cups cold water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat; skim off impurities then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour. Pass mixture through a fine sieve. Reserve stock for making gravy.

Remove the turkey from the oven, and place on a cutting board with a rimmed cookie sheet underneath to catch any juices. Cover with aluminium foil and allow resting for at least 30 minutes up to an hour.

Remove the roasted vegetables from the bottom of the pan.

* A trick that I use for a flavourful and thick gravy is to use roasted vegetables. I pass them through a fine-meshed strainer or you could place in a blender with a little of your stock. This puree will be added to the gravy after the roux is formed.

Or if you choose not to use; discard the vegetables.

Making the Gravy

Mise En Place

  • Turkey drippings from your roasting pan
  • pureed vegetables from your roasting pan *
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups starchy potato water from making your mashed potatoes **
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • freshly chopped sage

Place roasting pan on stove across two burners.

Bring pan juices to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon until smooth and the liquid starts to thicken.

Using these drippings make the roux in the roasting pan with equal amounts of flour to fats in the pan.

Cook, stirring, until blended, about 1 minute.

Add passed or pureed roasted vegetables now if using.

Time to switch to a whisk and gradually add in hot turkey stock, and the reserved starchy potato water ** Just like reserving 1-2 cups of salty pasta cooking water for pasta dishes, I think that there is a little flavour and starchiness in potato water, if you don’t have just leave out.

Add white wine if using, or beer, cider or bourbon are good alternatives.

Whisking continuously.

It is about 4 ounces of roux to a quart of liquid

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until gravy thickens and no longer tastes floury about 5 minutes.

I always pass gravy through a fine sieve to confirm that there are no huge lumps of flour or vegetables that were missed; season with salt and pepper. Add finely chopped sage and keep warm.

If adding rustic or woody stem herbs such as thyme or rosemary; add at the beginning. If adding delicate herbs such as parsley or sage at the end.

I think that if you follow that above steps of My Best Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner you will be pleased with the results.

Tip: A coffee thermos makes a great vessel for keeping gravy warm.

 

 

 

Solutions for the typical problems when making gravy.

Lumpy Gravy

Strain it again through a fine-mesh strainer. Or use an electric appliance such as blender, or with a stick blender, until smooth.

Bland Gravy

A little more salt. If that doesn’t work, add Worcestershire sauce.

Gravy that is Too Thick

Whisk in boxed chicken broth until you’ve reached the right consistency, then taste and re-season the gravy again as needed.

Gravy that is Too Thin

Make a cornstarch slurry which equal parts cornstarch and COLD water. (1 tbsp. of cornstarch to 1 tbsp. of cold water to start) Whisk in a little the slurry and bring to a simmer. I have also used Robin Hood Easy Blend flour to thicken my gravy.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving DInner 2017

Thanksgiving Plate for 2017

Advertisements

My Best Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

American Thanksgiving is in 5 days!

If you haven’t Thaw your turkey! Start thawing it in the refrigerator on a rimmed cookie sheet ASAP.

FYI A completely frozen turkey needs 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey (weight). A thawed turkey sitting around for an extra day or two in the refrigerator is much better than having to deal with a frozen turkey on Thanksgiving day.

Here is a checklist of your Turkey roasting equipment inventory you will need before Thanksgiving:

  • A roasting pan and a V-shaped roasting rack

I purchase 2 disposable roasting aluminium pans; doubled up for strength (because who wants to wash more dishes or those huge roasting pans)

UPDATE: Review for Circulon® Roaster Pan Review and Giveaway 

If you don’t have a roasting rack, chopped extra mirepoix or you can make your own by simply scrunching up a long piece of aluminium foil into a figure 8.

  • A working meat thermometer I invested in The iGrill
  • A baster or brush, preferably silicone
  • Butcher’s string (cotton based food-grade approved) or Architec Stretch Hot Cooking Bands 2
  • Cheesecloth, double thickness and size of the turkey’s breast
  • Cooking Spray
  • A carving set or electric knife, my husband’s new friend
  • And a working oven 😉

This is the third post in My Best Thanksgiving Recipes, Tips and Tricks.

Check out My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner and My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner 

The Best Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Preheat Oven 450F Serves 6-8
Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Mise En Place

PC Young Turkey -frozen

PC Young Turkey-frozen

  • 1 16-18 lb. whole turkey, defrosted and at room temperature
  • My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner prepared and at room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 box reduced-sodium chicken or turkey stock

Calculating your turkey’s cooking time. With my method of roasting a turkey, cooking time averages 20 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey.

How to calculate cooking time: i.e. 16 lb. turkey X 20 min. per lb. = 320 min. divide by 60 min. in an hour = approx. 5 hours

After you do the math, add some additional prep time 15 min. and that the turkey should rest at least 30 minutes before carving. The total turkey time has worked out for the above example 5 hours & 45 min.

So, if you want to have dinner at 6pm, aim to have the turkey out of the oven at 5pm and work backwards from there. This is the time the turkey needs to go in the oven.

Preparing the Turkey

Preheat your oven 450 F and take the turkey out of the fridge; let the turkey sit out at room temperature while the oven is heating up. Remember to remove extra oven racks and adjust the rack you are using so that turkey has plenty of space to roast.

Place your turkey on a large cookie surface and unwrap your turkey.

Reach into the cavity and take out the neck (it looks like a long curved piece of bone with some meat attached.) Place the neck in a medium size pot with the reserved vegetables from preparing the stuffing. (i.e. parsley stems, celery stalks and carrots) fill the pot with cold water and simmer.

 

Remove any plastic “thingy” holding the legs together. Discard.

Check inside of the neck cavity look for a little bag with the giblets (the heart, liver, etc.) sometimes you find this inside the main cavity. I just throw it away. Others will use the contents for giblet gravy.

Wash your turkey inside out in the sink with cold water. And dry it completely, both inside and out with paper towels.

Using a liberal amount of kosher salt and some black pepper sprinkle your washed and dried turkey inside and out.

Bend under the wing tips and now it is time to stuff the turkey with My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner.

 

Trussing, or tying up the turkey into a more compact package, make sure that the breast and thighs cook to the right temperature. The white meat won’t overcook while the dark meat is still cooking. Truss using butcher’s twine or just tie the legs or use the silicone elastic bands.

Mise En Place for Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Mise En Place for Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

Spray the disposable roasting pan and V-shaped roasting rack liberally with cooking spray. And place your stuffed turkey on the rack and into the prepared roasting pan with 2 peeled garlic cloves, 1 onion quartered, 2 stalks of celery chopped, 2-3 peeled and chopped carrots to flavour the drippings.

One of my tricks is that I think to make for juicy breast meat, is to start the turkey breast up and roast for about 20 minutes at 450 F until slightly golden in colour. Then flip the turkey to breast side down for another 20 minutes.

 

Remove the turkey from the oven; flip the turkey back to breast side up. Prepare the 1 cup of melted butter, 1 cup white wine and ½ cup of stock in a glass measuring cup. Dip the cheesecloth in the liquid, saturate and place on turkey’s breast.

The second trick is the cheesecloth protects the breast from getting too brown and dried out.

Add ½ cup of chicken or turkey stock to the roasting pan.

Turn the oven down to 325 F. Place the cheesecloth-covered turkey back in the oven.

Roast and baste.

Baste the turkey including the cheesecloth with the wine, stock and butter mixture. And with some of the delicious juices that are gathering at the bottom of the roasting pan. The cheesecloth will get brown, no worries.

Continue to baste.

Start checking the temperature 30-45 minutes before your calculated time just to be sure since every oven is different. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165F.  The temperature of the breast should be around 155F.

 

Remove turkey from the oven and place on carving board and/or clean-rimmed cookie sheet. Baste the turkey with drippings to help moisten the cheesecloth before trying to remove it from the skin of the turkey. Cover loosely with aluminium foil and rest at least for 30 minutes even up to an hour. Resting any meat such as a turkey or even a roast beef that has been cooking for a long time redistribute the juices themselves back into the meat. Don’t worry; this large piece of meat will not get cold.

 

While the turkey is resting, is the perfect opportunity to prepare the gravy using the pan drippings, reserved starchy potato water and simmering stock.

My Best Turkey Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner. Stay Tuned!

Carve the turkey by removing the legs and breasts of the bird. Once the breast meat is cut off the bones, cut into slices. Cut the thigh meat off of the bones.

Thanksgiving Turkey 2014

Thanksgiving Turkey 2014

Thanksgiving Turkey 2017

Roast Turkey 2017

Thanksgiving Turkey 2017

Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2017

My Thanksgiving Dinner Plate for 2017

Friday Feature: Weekday Wrap Up

Time for the 5 o’clock rush Weekday Wrap Up

It is a cold and snowy in Canada today. For some great recipes to warm your bellies check out the Food Bloggers of Canada’s Soups & Stews Recipe Roundup Part 1.

My Low-Fat Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup with Crab and Goat Cheese is one of the soups in the Recipe Roundup.

And the American Thanksgiving is in 12 days the next blog post of Thanksgiving tips and tricks is up.

My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner

Follow my Instagram feed for more daily dinner pictures at the5oclockrush.

Have a great weekend

Chef Kim

Bonus: A little trick How to easily peel a Mango 😉

Weekday Wrap Up

My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner

American Thanksgiving is in 12 days.

The stuffing recipe I make for my turkey brings back memories from my childhood Thanksgivings. It is from the McCall’s Cookbook that my dad executes every holiday that involves a turkey.

The McCall’s Cookbook is one of the more popular collectible cookbooks from the 60s. It is a thick, over 700-page cookbook in the same vein as Betty Crocker Cookbook. In general, it is loaded with recipes and how-tos. Most of the recipes are short and easy-to-follow. A Betty Crocker Cookbook definitely had an edge up in terms of cookbooks from the 60s era since McCall’s has no photos.

I’m still hoping that in the future to add my mom’s bright yellow copy to my cookbook collection. 😉

I presently use a beautiful bright pink printout of the stuffing recipe. One funny thing from the original recipe is that it calls for fine fresh-white breadcrumbs. Eeew! I can’t even imagine that. It would be the consistency of mashed potatoes with onion and celery pieces. My dad always used cubed bread.

My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner

Adapted from the McCall’s Cookbook for Golden-Brown Turkey
12-15 lb. Turkey

Mise En Place

  • 2 onions, medium-sized, peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 heads of celery, cleaned
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley, washed
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. hot paprika
  • 1 ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 2 loaves stuffing bread or your choice of day old bread, cubed*

My Best Stuffing is a combination the bite size pieces of the ingredients for texture and finely chopped in food processor. I chop half of each vegetable into ½ inch pieces with my knife and the other half  I will place into a food processor to be very finely chopped.

Remove the root ends from the onions and dice 1 onion and the other onion cut into quarters for the food processor.

Remove the inside stalks and leaves from the head of celery. Set aside for the stock and gravy.

Cut 1 of the head celery stalk into ½ inch pieces, set aside. The remaining stalks cut so they will fit in a food processor.

Remove the stems from the parsley and reserve for the stock and gravy.

Place the bite size pieces of celery and onion into a large microwavable bowl with melted butter.

Place the remaining onions, garlic cloves, fresh sage, celery and parsley into the food processor.

Pulse in the food processor until very finely chopped but not liquid.

Place in the microwaveable bowl with bite size ingredients and butter; cook covered in the microwave for 5-7 minutes.

Note: At this point, the celery/onion mixture can be covered, refrigerated and stored several days in advance. On the day that you are stuffing the turkey, removed from fridge and bring to room temperature and then mix with dried out cubed bread.

Add the eggs, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, hot paprika, applesauce, and honey to the cooked celery/onion mixture. Mix well.

Place the dried out cubed bread into a large mixing bowl.

Toss lightly the celery/onion mixture with the dried cubed bread.

Bend wings tips of the turkey under the body.

Spoon stuffing into the neck cavity of the turkey; fasten close with poultry pins.

Spoon stuffing into the body cavity of the bird. Do not pack.

With twine, tie ends of legs together and truss the turkey and using pins secure the stuffing in the cavity.

Never place a warm stuffing into bird. Once the turkey is stuffed it should be placed in the oven immediately to begin roasting.

Bake any left over dressing in a well-greased covered casserole.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving DInner 2017

Thanksgiving Plate for 2017

* My local grocery store makes their own stuffing bread which is a flavourful bread baked with thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg. A day or two ahead of making the stuffing, cube the 2 loaves of stuffing bread and spread out evenly on baking sheets. Leave on the counter to dry out overnight or bake the cubes in a low oven until lightly crisp and toasted.

Weekday Wrap Up and A Kitchen Cheat Sheet

It has very busy at the 5 o’clock rush

The American Thanksgiving is just 20 days away and I will be posting our recent Thanksgiving dinner recipes as well as tips and tricks. Check out the first Thanksgiving post for My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

I have also been engaging with other food bloggers through Food Bloggers of Canada Facebook page.

One of the food blogs that I follow, Un Assaggio of food, wine, & marriage  today posted this awesome Kitchen Cheat Sheet.

I recommend that everyone print it out, laminate it and hanging it in your kitchen. It will be especially useful during the busy holiday season.

Have a great weekend…….looks like fall is here which means winter is around the corner. 😛

More daily dinner tonight pictures follow the5oclockrush on Instagram.

Weekday Wrap Up

Continue reading