Making the Perfect Turkey Gravy
As the American diet has changed during the past few years, gravy has all but disappeared. Only on the most special of occasions do we allow ourselves the indulgence of this hearty sauce. The Thanksgiving meal is one such occasion, when the golden brown essence of caramelized turkey drippings, blended with flour and broth, yield a gravy that adds to the flavor of the holiday. When turkey gravy is draped across the turkey slices, herb stuffing, rice or potatoes, the meal is at its best. Gravy is also an essential ingredient for hot turkey sandwiches enjoyed in the post-Thanksgiving turkey leftover period.
The turkey drippings, both the browned bits and fat, provide the color and flavor needed for good gravy. Salt and pepper are essential ingredients as they enrich the natural flavors. The quality of any gravy is enhanced by adding turkey stock, wine or apple cider. The National Turkey Federation offers some suggestions for preparing Basic Turkey Gravy as well as several recipes for enhancing the flavors by adding giblets, sherry or sautéed mushrooms. For holiday diners who are cautious about fat intake, try Guilt Free Gravy .
The art of gravy making can be a challenge to those who only prepare the robust sauce on special holiday occasions. To produce a full flavored gravy, it is critical to cook the flour in about an equal portion of fat until the flour loses its raw taste. A rather common problem is the temptation to use too much flour, which decreases the flavor. Remember that gravy will continue to thicken after it has been removed from the heat. A good rule is to use between 1 and 2 tablespoons of flour for each cup of liquid and then give the mixture time to thicken. Use a food thermometer to ensure the gravy has reached the proper heating temperature of 165 degrees F.
If a shortage of turkey gravy is a common occurrence at your house, double the turkey gravy recipe by using melted butter and extra warm turkey or poultry stock. The following chart lists several common gravy problems and ways to eliminate them so the grand turkey feast will be complete.
If you are lucky enough to have leftover gravy, store the gravy in a covered, shallow container. Place it in the refrigerator as quickly as possible. Leftover gravy is safe for two days, when refrigerated, but must be reheated to the safe temperature of 165 degrees F.
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