Gravy without giblets?
November 19, 2012 3:17 AM   Subscribe

How do I make turkey gravy for Thanksgiving without giblets? My dad purchased two turkey breasts instead of a whole Turkey. I've been tasked with making the gravy, but my standby recipe calls for giblets (I saute them, cook them with store-bought chicken stock, strain the stock, make a roux and then add the stock to the roux). How do I make gravy with no giblets? How can I give the gravy a rich Turkey taste?
posted by Area Man to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I don't use the giblets, I use the drippings from the turkey (strain off the grease) with water, a bouillon cube, and a roux. Tastes like turkey every time!
posted by xingcat at 3:29 AM on November 19, 2012

I always use the drippings and make a roux - just like xingcat - I then put about a tablespoon or two of my " cornbread dressing" in the gravy -it gives it a great taste and you do not have to use so much flour in the roux.
posted by pamspanda at 3:37 AM on November 19, 2012

Yeah, strain out the grease from the turkey drippings--probably using one of these--and use that instead of chicken stock. You can use stock to stretch it out if you don't have enough drippings.

Honestly? I think you're probably overestimating how much the giblets are actually contributing to your gravy. Giblets aren't where the gravy gets most of its flavor. That comes from the drippings. In your case, it's probably coming from the chicken stock. You can add giblets for that extra irony flavor that some people like, but they're totally optional. My mom makes gravy in the above-described way and then serves giblets on the side. Those who want them can add them. I think you'll find that making gravy using the drippings from the bird without giblets is a lot more flavorful than using stock and giblets without drippings.
posted by valkyryn at 4:02 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I do what pamspanda does, use the drippings, make a roux and use some of the cornbread dressing. I also use store-bought chicken or turkey stock. Whole Foods usually has fresh turkey stock or you can make your own with turkey wings.
posted by shoesietart at 4:06 AM on November 19, 2012

If you want giblets, you can just buy the livers and such from the supermarket or a butcher.

I used to make gravy as others regardless of what sort of poultry and use the drippings. Couple that with the stock, you should get great flavors.

Happy Thanksgiving!
posted by Yellow at 4:17 AM on November 19, 2012

Depending on the brand, there may be a little packet of gravy already in there. It's certainly not the most authentic stuff in the world, but I always add a little of it to the preparations the others mentioned (drippings, roux, etc.) and it tastes pretty great.
posted by ronofthedead at 4:43 AM on November 19, 2012

I pour the drippings out of the pan and use them as others have described, but I then deglaze the pan with white wine and make my gravy in that pan on the stovetop.
posted by crabintheocean at 5:04 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

My partner likes to stuff the turkey with a variety of aromatics, which makes the turkey taste great, but the resulting gravy not so much. So the past couple years I've been doing this Make Ahead gravy recipe which calls for roasting some turkey parts, and then making a stock with them. The bonus is that I can prep this days ahead, and it makes a ton of delicious gravy.
posted by FreezBoy at 5:05 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Came in to suggest buying a few turkey legs or wings and making turkey stock early this week to use instead of chicken stock in your gravy, but FeezBoy has beaten me to it! This post from Michael Ruhlman explains how he makes his gravy, with links to turkey stock recipe, too.
posted by hungrybruno at 5:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have cats, and I can't STAND giblets.

Buy a bunch of turkey necks at the store, make a homemade stock from them. Use some aromatics in it, onion, celery, parsnip, carrot. Throw in some herbs that you like.

Use that with pan drippings, then roux. It's so tasty!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:44 AM on November 19, 2012

Yes, use necks and make a quick turkey stock. It's so much more flavorful than using the chicken stock method. I never use giblets.
posted by waitangi at 6:00 AM on November 19, 2012

I use the drippings, add a few aromatics (whatever I have handy), a generous glug of whatever wine we are drinking, and some cornflour to thicken it. If that's not enough, I add some chicken or turkey stock to increase the volume. When its finished cooking, drain off the majority of the fat. You need the fat while its cooking to get the most flavor.

If you're only roasting chicken breasts, the drippings might not be as flavorful as those from a whole bird, but I think that some chicken stock will fix that well enough.
posted by Joh at 6:11 AM on November 19, 2012

As suggested, use the pan drippings, and use the water you cooked the potatoes in as the rest of the liquid. The starch helps thicken it, and contributes to flavour.
posted by Pablo MacWilliams at 8:27 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you everyone. Pan drippings it is! (I won't have time to prepare gravy or stock in advance due to travel plans, though it seems like a good option for future years). I'll also see if I have the opportunity to buy some wings or necks.

I should mention that I typically use the neck along with the giblets when making my usual gravy. I forgot to metion that when posting. It was too early in the morning, but I'd woken up with gravy anxiety (I'm a nervous cook, I prefer the precision of baking).
posted by Area Man at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2012

Also, I'm intrigued by this cornbread stuffing idea. We don't ever eat that kind stuffing at Thanksgiving and I think there'd be a revolt if I tried to replace or supplement our family recipe, but I may try that some other time.
posted by Area Man at 8:53 AM on November 19, 2012

If you're going to a grocery store anyway for wings and necks, you might as well see whether they're selling turkey gizzards.

Here in Texas a lot of grocery stores do sell them around Thanksgiving, especially in poorer or less-white neighborhoods. (Basically if it's the sort of place where you can get ham hocks or chicken feet they're likely to be selling gizzards right now too.) Not sure if there's a tradition of eating fried gizzards or similar where you are, but you might as well check. They're usually cheap as hell. Buy a whole thing of them, use a few in the gravy, freeze the rest for making stock out of some other time.

For that matter, a lot of stores will sell chicken livers. If your gravy recipe uses the turkey liver as well as the gizzard and heart, a couple chicken livers would be a fine substitute.

(For maximum awesomeness, though, definitely use the pan drippings too!)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:03 AM on November 19, 2012

When I cook a whole turkey I include the cubed, cooked giblets in the gravy just so they don't go to waste but as others have said most of the turkeyness in the gravy comes from the pan drippings. Last time I cooked a separate turkey breast I used the drippings (though there are of course less of these because white mead is less fatty) together with cubed chicken livers and gizzards for chunkiness. Liquid I poured into the hot roux was chicken-internals boiling water. Nobody noticed any difference, and I think you'd have to have a mass spectrometer for a tongue to spot the deception.
posted by jfuller at 11:39 AM on November 19, 2012

mead meat. Never had white mead, though it might be good.
posted by jfuller at 11:41 AM on November 19, 2012

I make drippings gravy too, works great. But since you have two breasts, you have another option - start one a little earlier, so it's done about a half hour before the meal. It needs 15 mintues to rest anyway. Let it rest, then carve the breast meat attractively off the bone. Cover the carved meat with foil and put on the back of the stove to keep warm.

Cut the carcass into small sections and plunge it into a pot of simmering water that you have ready. Cook vigorously for a few minutes, then strain and reduce, and use that as the gravy liquid, adding it to your roux.

You can arrange the sliced breast around the complete second roast and the platter would look very nice.

You could even do this the day before if you want a richer, longer-simmered stock, but the turkey does taste different the second day if it's sat around sliced overnight.
posted by Miko at 1:39 PM on November 19, 2012

Thank you everyone. My family says it was the best homemade gravy they'd ever had. I got some gizzards at the store and used those, and also added the pan dripings with some wine after the breasts came out of the oven.
posted by Area Man at 7:53 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

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