Giblet Gravy

My love affair with giblets started probably around age 5. That’s when my mom would cook the gizzard with her chicken soup, and then fish it out just for me. It was so chewy and good. I loved it. I would get the heart too, but it wasn’t nearly as good as the gizzard. Later I graduated to the neck, which one simply could not eat quietly. No, to enjoy the neck one had to grip it with both hands, and slurp, chew, and suck, and then slurp some more. Now as an adult, when my mom cooks a chicken, she’ll save the liver just for the two of us to have sautéed in a little butter, for a snack. So in my opinion, giblet gravy, a gravy made with the choicest pieces of the bird, is the queen of gravies. So full of wonderful flavor from the giblets and drippings. You can make gravy from the giblets of either a turkey or a chicken, though I think it’s more usual with a roast turkey. The giblets are bigger, and there’s more meat to put in the gravy.

To make the gravy, you first make a stock from the giblets, which cooks on the stovetop while you are cooking your turkey. When the bird has finished roasting, you combine the stock, along with chopped up cooked giblets, with the roasting pan drippings to make the gravy.

My friend Steve-Anna makes her giblet gravy with a few hard boiled eggs and 3 tablespoons of chopped pimentos thrown in. Do you make giblet gravy? If you do, what are your variations? Please let us know in the comments.

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 3 hours
  • Yield: Makes about 3 cups of gravy.

We've included the liver in our giblet gravy, which gives it a richer flavor. If you simply cannot abide with even a hint of the taste of liver, you can leave it out. Giblet gravy is usually served "chunky", if you want, you can purée it for a smoother gravy. One traditional option is the addition of chopped hard boiled eggs to the gravy. If you want to try that, chop up 3 hard boiled eggs finely, and add them to the gravy in step 5.

Ingredients

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  • Giblets (neck, gizzard, heart, liver) from a turkey (or chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 cups water
  • Drippings from the turkey or chicken
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour (or 2-3 Tbsp of corn starch, dissolved first into 1/4 cup of water)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons of mustard (yellow or Dijon)

Turkeys and chickens are usually sold with the giblets wrapped in waxed paper or plastic, located inside of the cavity. On a turkey, some of the giblets may be found in the neck cavity as well.

Method

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1 Heat the butter in a 2-quart saucepan on medium-high heat. When hot, add the giblets to the pan. Brown them on all sides.giblet-gravy-2.jpggiblet-gravy-3.jpg

2 Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the bay leaf, thyme and water. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, partially cover so that some steam escapes, and cook on a low simmer for several hours, while the turkey (or chicken) is cooking.

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3 Once the bird is close to being done, strain the giblets and stock through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Set aside the stock. Remove the giblets from the sieve. Finely mince the giblet meat. If you want, you can pull some of the meat off of the neck and mince that as well.

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4 Once the bird is done, move it to a cutting board to let it rest. Pour off the excess fat (all but a tablespoon or two) from the roasting pan. Set the roasting pan over two burners of the stovetop set over medium heat. Add the flour (or corn starch slurry) and whisk it into the drippings. Stir in the minced giblets. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring while cooking.

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5 Add the strained giblet stock to the pan drippings and giblets and mix well to combine. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until the gravy thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Add 1-2 teaspoons of mustard (to taste). Check for salt and add more salt to taste if needed. Serve it as-is, or purée the gravy in a blender for a smoother texture.

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