Roast turkey is one the great classic North American holiday dishes. The thing that ties it all together is the gravy so why isn’t it the star? Put some time and effort into making concentrated turkey stock and your turkey will be the one everyone talks about.
There aren’t a lot of ingredients in turkey gravy. Fat, flour, stock and the pan drippings and fond. You can’t do much about the fat (other than make sure you use turkey fat) or the flour so that leaves two. You can help yourself by roasting your bird unstuffed and making a dressing instead. Stuffing is a double whammy. Is soaks up all the goodness that would otherwise end up in your gravy and it makes it harder to roast a turkey evenly.
So what’s left? The stock. And that’s where you can take your gravy from average to awesome. Concentrated turkey stock. Really concentrated turkey stock. A flavour explosion.
It takes a big stock pot to make a little stock. I start with a 6.8 litre (about 7 quart) stockpot and I try to target 3 cups of the concentrated stock. Start this the day after you serve your turkey. If you can’t get to it for a few days, toss the carcass into a bag and freeze it. You are making gold out of lead…
- Your leftover turkey bones - the whole carcass, if you have one
- As many turkey necks, wings, backs and bits as will fit in a big pot - 5 lbs or more
- 2 onions, halved. Leave the skins on
- water to cover
- Trim as much fat from the turkey parts as you can. Place them in a large pot along with your leftover carcass.
- Add the onion halves and cover with water.
- Simmer, loosely covered, until the turkey bits are tasteless. You want all the flavour in the water and none in the meat. This can take 12 hours. Add water as needed along the way.
- Once the turkey bits are tasteless, start reducing. You want to get somewhere around 3 cups of liquid. When you get down to 3 cups remove the onions, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and try them. They are the cooks treat.
- At this point, remove the big bones from the pot then strain through a colander.
- Defat as best as possible and pour into a freezer proof container. Place the container in the refrigerator and let the fat separate.
- Remove fat, cover and freeze until your next turkey.