Are you looking to elevate your Thanksgiving dinner to new heights of comfort and flavor? My incredibly delicious giblet gravy recipe is bursting with rich, savory flavors and a hint of traditional nostalgia.
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Have you ever roasted a turkey and removed the bag of giblets and neck, then wondered what you should do with them? Don’t toss them out! Let me show you how to make a giblet gravy. You’ll be impressed with how much flavor and dimension it adds to the sauce. What’s great is you can even use this recipe when roasting a whole chicken.
The giblet pieces are browned first, then sauteed with a classic vegetable mirepoix. It’s simmered with fragrant herbs until a rich stock is formed. The great thing about this recipe is you don’t have to wait for the bird to finish cooking, as the gravy can be made in advance. However, using the flavorful pan drippings will further enhance the gravy.
- Giblet Parts: You’ll need the neck. It’s full of gelatin when cooked, adding body to the sauce. The tail can also be used. Look for the organs, consisting of the heart, gizzard, and liver, in a small paper pouch, usually stuffed near the neck of the bird.
- Vegetables: A mixture of chopped onions, sliced carrots, and celery creates a flavorful base for the stock. A smashed clove of garlic adds a delicate allium flavor.
- Herbs: Bay leaf and fresh thyme sprigs add a pleasant fragrance to the gravy.
- Roux: A mixture of butter and flour creates a paste that thickens the sauce. It’s easy to adjust the consistency, adding more or less roux.
- Liquid: Unsalted chicken stock or broth allows for a more intense flavor of poultry stock. Water can be used instead. You can control the salt and pepper levels of the liquid.
- Pan Drippings: Reserve the pan drippings from the roasted turkey to season the gravy. Some of the homemade stock can be replaced with juice, and the fat can be used instead of butter. This depends on the yield of drippings.
Brown the giblets
Remove the giblets from the turkey or chicken. Giblets are organs from the bird, consisting of the long neck, gizzard, small heart, and liver. They contribute to the taste and texture of the gravy when cooked. The neck has meat, the gizzard and heart have some chew, and the liver breaks down like a cooked egg yolk for richness.
Searing the parts in butter adds flavor by browning the surface and develops fond in the pan. This will create a more interesting stock for the turkey giblet gravy.
Make the stock
Once the giblets are golden brown, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until the onions turn translucent and the surface starts to caramelize. This brings out the natural sweetness. Add the chicken stock, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. I cover the pot, leaving it ajar to allow some steam to escape while concentrating the liquid.
The gentle pressure cooker environment tenderizes the giblets faster. It’s ready when the meat is easily removed from the neck bone. The process takes about 1 hour. Strain the stock to reserve just the liquid. You could also puree the vegetables to thicken the sauce with it instead.
Mince the giblets
Remove the cooked giblets from the strainer, then let them cool down on a cutting board. Trim off any tough bits from the gizzard. Shred the meat off of the neck bone. Chop the meat, gizzard, heart, and liver into smaller pieces.
Some people dislike the taste of the liver because it’s slightly bitter. But if you are a pâté or foie gras fan, add it! It breaks down in the gravy, adding richness to the sauce. If you want the flavor of the giblet but not the chunkiness, blend it in the sauce until smooth after making the gravy.
Make the gravy
When I make gravy, I prefer a thick and velvety consistency. In this recipe for giblet gravy, I use a ratio of 2 tablespoons of butter and flour for every 1 cup of stock. For a thinner consistency, use 1 or 1 ½ tablespoons instead. To make a golden roux, start by melting the butter over medium heat, then whisking in the flour. This will create a paste with a sort of butterscotch color.
Gradually whisk in the homemade giblet stock over medium-high heat. The temperature will help to thicken the sauce. If you find the sauce too thick, add more stock. Give it a taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Now stir in the chopped giblet meat and parts. The sauce thickens as it cools. Reheat or add in some hot stock to thin it out.
It’s easy to switch up the flavor of the giblet gravy. Try these tasty ideas!
- Egg: Add chopped hard-boiled eggs to the gravy to add richness and texture. About 2 to 3 works well. The egg yolks have a similar texture to the liver and dissolve into the sauce.
- Herbs: Add fresh or dried herbs to the gravy, like rosemary, sauce, thyme, tarragon, or parsley.
- Heat: For spiciness, add red chili flakes, chili powder, cayenne pepper, or chipotle pepper. Mince up jalapenos or serranos to simmer with the stock.
- Dairy: For a creamier texture, add in milk or heavy cream. This should replace a portion of the homemade turkey stock.
- Alcohol: Add dimension with dry white wine, brandy, or sherry. This is often added to the roasting pan and reduced if making the gravy with pan drippings. This can also be added to the roux before the stock.
- Seasonings: Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce bumps up the savory umami taste. A splash of vinegar or Dijon mustard adds pungency. Add in lemon or orange zest or juice for acidity.
- Roast turkey breast or slow cooker turkey breast
- Roasted chicken
- Whole roasted turkey or spatchcock turkey
- Prime rib
- Mashed potatoes
Frequently asked questions
The liver adds a unique flavor and richness to the sauce. It’s an acquired taste with slight bitterness, acidity, and sweetness. You can omit it entirely or add a small amount at a time until the desired flavor is reached. It can also be chopped up and served on the side for those who enjoy it to add on.
Chicken or turkey giblets can be used for the gravy. Chicken giblets tend to be smaller and may not include the neck.
The use of turkey drippings is optional but adds tremendous flavor. It also pairs well with the meat because it has similar seasonings. Any chicken, homemade turkey stock, or vegetable stock can be used.
Strain the gravy through a fine mesh sieve. Alternatively, blend the chopped giblets with the gravy, then strain.
You can make giblet gravy directly in the pan. Just make sure to pour the drippings into a fat separator or container. This helps measure the amount of juice and fat collected. Add the amounts instructed in the recipe, plus more butter or turkey stock as needed. Place on the stovetop, turning on one or two burners, making the roux, and thickening the sauce in the pan.
Yes! The giblet gravy reheats well. The sauce will thicken when cold due to the solidifying starches and butter. Reheat and add more stock or water to thin out the consistency. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
Fixing a thin or thick gravy
Once removed from the heat, it will thicken up. However, if it’s still too thin, you can do two things. First, simmer the sauce to evaporate some of the water. This will concentrate the solids for a thicker gravy. Secondly, beurre manié (kneaded butter). Mix equal parts softened butter and flour. Whisk ½ to 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time to the hot gravy, adding more as needed to thicken. The flour is coated in the fat, making it easy to disperse the particles into the sauce, which swells and thickens the gravy.
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- turkey giblets, neck, gizzard, heart, and liver (optional)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup diced onion, ½" dice
- ½ cup sliced carrots, ½" slice
- ½ cup sliced celery, ½" slice
- 6 cups unsalted chicken stock, broth or water
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- turkey pan drippings, optional
- Brown the Giblets – In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the giblets and sear until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes.
- Make the Stock – To the browned giblets, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, garlic clove, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cover, leaving the lid ajar, and simmer until the meat on the neck is cooked, about 1 hour.If needed, add more stock or water if the liquid isn't covering the neck at least halfway. There should be at least 4 cups of liquid to make the gravy. Strain the stock into a bowl and reserve the liquid.
- Mince the Giblets – Remove the neck and giblets and allow to cool on a cutting board. Use a chef's knife to mince the giblets, chopping the liver (if desired), and neck meat. Set aside.
- Make a Roux – In a medium saute pan, add 8 tablespoons of butter and the flour. Alternatively, use ½ cup of fat from the pan drippings of a roasted turkey. Heat the pan over medium heat, whisk, and cook until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Thicken the Consistency – Turn the heat to medium-high. Gradually whisk in 4 cups of the reserved stock. Alternatively, use the juices from the turkey, adding enough stock to reach 4 cups of liquid. Stir and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. The stock thickens more as it cools. For a thinner sauce, add more stock. For a smoother consistency, strain the sauce.
- To Finish – Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the reserved chopped giblets and neck meat. Serve hot, and rewarm if needed.
- Recipe Yield: About 4 cups gravy
- Serving Size: ¼ cup
- Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Freeze for up to 4 months. Reheat and add more liquid if needed to thin out.
- For a Thinner Sauce: For a medium-bodied gravy, use 6 tablespoons of butter and flour. For a thin gravy, use 4 tablespoons of butter and flour.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Make a cornstarch slurry using ¼ cup cornstarch and ½ cup water. Bring the 4 cups of stock to a boil, then whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Cook until thickened.
- Boiled Egg: Coarsely chop 2 to 3 hardoiled eggs. Mix into the gravy with the giblets and meat.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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