THE 1 THING THAT MAKES A GOOD THANKSGIVING MEAL A GREAT THANKSGIVING MEAL..

Plus bonus EXTRA tips for timing and thanksgiving disaster recovery!
  1. Gravy! Nuff said and here's how to do it...
  2. How to make good gravy - make an intense brown fortified reduced stock. This is it in its cold state, it's like a really firm jello, ugly? Yes! This kind of ugly = crazy good flavor for your gravy.
  3. It's all about the bones. If you can buy Turkey bones at grocery store or from a butcher great but if you can't we can still get here.
  4. Grocery stores usually have chicken backs to purchase, get a bunch of those, if they don't have that buy a couple of packages of chicken wings. U will also need a couple of onions, couple ribs of celery, couple of carrots, couple garlic cloves and a small handful of fresh thyme, oh and some tomato paste.
  5. Preheat oven 400F. Spread the Turkey bones out on one or two cookie sheets, or three if you got a lot. U want to be able to spread them out. include the turkey neck from inside the bird. Rough chop your veg, throw it on there too.
  6. If you don't have turkey bones, just do the same thing w the chicken backs or wings, add the turkey neck and you can also trim off the turkey wing tips from the bird and use that too.
  7. Throw bone and veg Cookie sheets in the oven and roast until brown, not golden brown, that deep red-ish brown. Maybe 40 minutes, just check on it, it's done when it's brown is the bottom line.
  8. Grab a big stock pot, large enough to accommodate all the brown bones and veg. Transfer browned bones/veg to the pot. The cookie sheets will have brown bits on them and you want all of it, Put some water on the sheet and scrape them up w wooden spoon. This is easiest if the sheet is still hot. Put all of that in the pot.
  9. Add the thyme, some salt and some freshly ground black pepper and about two tablespoons of tomato paste and some garlic cloves. Add enough water to cover everything by a least 2 to 3 inches. If u have purchased turkey stock u can use that along w water to make up the difference. .
  10. Turn it on to high, once it comes up to a bubble, turn the heat down about medium, ur looking for a fast bubbling simmer not a a big rolling boil. Let it go for 3 hours.
  11. Strain the bone/veg and discard, their job is over, You can let it cool a bit before doing this so it is easier to handle. So now u have a nice brown turkey (or chicken turkey) stock. To intensify it more you can place the strained liquid back on the stove and reduce it by a little bit more than half. Cool and store in fridge until gravy time.
  12. Tomorrow when it's gravy making time u can follow any recipe u like using ur fortified reduced stock. But here's what I do if you don't already have a plan in mind.
  13. So turkey is out of the oven resting. Extra tip: if your turkey is ready and you are still trying to pull the rest of the meal together - throughly wrap the bird in foil then fold a bath towel in half (yes of course a clean one) and place that over the foiled bird. It will keep ur bird surprisingly hot for quite a while. Back to the gravy....
  14. The roasting pan has turkey brown bits & brown juice & fat in it, pour all those drippings into a measuring cup or bowl, reserve drippings & roasting pan. let the juices in the measuring cup settle, the fat will rise to the top. Return about 3 tablespoons-ish of the fat to the roasting pan, place over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of flour.
  15. Using a wooden spoon mix flour & fat together, let cook about a minute or two, then switch to a whisk, and whisk in about 1 cup of white wine, champagne, prosecco or you can do a brandy but just a half cup of that or a calvados for that matter. Then follow by adding the brown turkey stock.
  16. That measuring cup that had all the pan drippings in it, we'll get rid of as much of the fat that you can, add the drippings to the roasting pan and bring to a simmer and cook until desired thickness. GRAVY!!!
  17. EXTRA tip: if u used a foil roasting pan, gravy making business will be a pain in the ass in that & you could end up w a mess. for you, once turkey is out of the pan, pour out all the drippings & fat from the pan to measuring cup, get all of it. Grab a sauce pan, add the 3 tablespoons of fat to that & then follow the rest of the instruction.
  18. EXTRA tip: you can make it mashed potatoes hours a head of time. After u make ur taters, fill a large pot or pan w an inch or 2 of water, pix show general set up. Put taters in smaller pot w lid. Place over low heat, check it every now & then to insure water has not boiled away, u basically made a steam table.
  19. EXTRA tip: turkey is a bit raw...oops. Break the turkey down into legs, thighs and remove each breast whole. Put about 1/2 inch of turkey or chicken or veg stock in a roasting pan put over medium heat, lay the broken down turkey pieces skin side up in the pan, lightly cover w foil, gently simmer until cooked. No big deal.
  20. Oh and the best cranberry sauce I've ever had is a recipe by an old friend of mine chef Scott Conant, we went to school together a long long time ago- here is a link to the recipe http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipes/21670_scott_conant_s_cranberry_campari_compote/
  21. Maybe I'll add pictures of gravy making when I do it tomorrow, depends on how much wine gets consumed that day, I'm sure you understand.