This recipe makes a lot of gravy (more than enough for 12), but it’s easy to cut in half if you’re having fewer guests. It was created to go with our Fried Turkey with Southern Rub, and engages a technique of browning the neck and giblets, rather than using pan drippings, to give a nice dose of turkey flavor (fried turkeys don’t have any pan drippings). But if you’d like to serve it alongside a regular roasted turkey, don’t waste those drippings! Just follow the recipe, but stir in the pan drippings when you add the chicken broth.
What to buy: Be sure to use real Kentucky bourbon for this recipe. It adds a hint of sweetness, and the alcohol does not overpower.
While there’s no argument that turkey stock makes the best gravy, we know that it’s not the easiest thing to come by. Don’t despair! We’ve tested this with canned chicken broth, and the result does not suffer.
Game plan: While preparing and rubbing the turkey, remember to save the neck and the little bag of giblets found in its cavity.
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2carrots, coarsely chopped
8 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth (2 quarts)
3/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
8 fresh sage leaves
2/3 cupheavy cream
Pat turkey neck and giblets dry with paper towels. Place them in a large mixing bowl, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the flour and toss to coat.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of the oil. When it shimmers, place turkey neck and giblets in the pot; brown them well on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove browned items to a large plate and set aside.
Pour excess oil from the pot and discard, but do not clean the pot. Return the pot to the stove over medium heat. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the pot. When hot, add onion, celery, and carrots to the pot with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and just browning around the edges, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat chicken broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot.
Sprinkle remaining 6 tablespoons flour over vegetables and stir until well incorporated. Cook about 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Add hot chicken broth to the pot, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits that have adhered to the bottom with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the bourbon, the bay leaves, and the sage. Place reserved neck and giblets in the pot. Turn the stove back on and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until gravy is reduced and thickened and no raw flour flavor remains.
Strain gravy through a fine mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Stir in cream and remaining 1/4 cup bourbon, then return to the stove over medium heat to rewarm. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.