Don’t toss your guts – giblet gravy

Bird is the word | October 14, 2013 | By

I just started reading “I am Malala,” the biography of the 16-year-old who was shot by the Taliban for saying that girls should be allowed to go to school. When her father was a kid, he had a bunch of sisters, and whenever his mother managed to serve up a chicken for dinner, Malala’s dad got the white meat while the sisters had to share the neck and the wings. Immediately after reading about this, I prepared a turkey for Thanksgiving with my extended family. I was tempted to throw out the neck and wings with a vengeance and gorge my daughter with white meat.

We’re far from perfect, but I’m thankful girls and women here are mostly treated as equals.

But I wanted to keep the neck, and even the giblets, because I had a plan for some gravy that would make the white meat my daughter was about to inhale all the more delicious. Instead, I might celebrate freedom from sexist insanity by writing some protest letters and wearing a short skirt all day tomorrow. Girl power. (I may or may not be kidding about the skirt, but it’s actually about time I tuned into writing for Amnesty International again – if you want to jump in, check it out here).

Anyway. Back to something far less sexist. Cooking. (eye roll. But I do it because I like to).

My mom used to toss her bird guts, and I think lots of other people do too, because I find if you get a bird from a grocery store it’s rare that they even include the little loot bag you find after groping the inside of the bird’s cavity. Apologies to vegetarians, but you’ve probably turned away from my blog long before now (Was it the fish heads? Kangaroo? Pork hoc? Probably the dragon…fruit. Damn, if I could find some real dragon…)

I found a recipe last year, though, where you boil the bejesus out of the turkey innards with a bit of veg, mix in some butter, flour, cream, and liquid fat, and bam, ya got gravy. I have to admit that before last year I was always quite afraid of gravy. It took years before I actually acquired enough seniority to be put in charge of a turkey for a holiday,

This year's raw gobbler fancified a bit for dramatic impact

This year’s raw gobbler fancified a bit for dramatic impact

and I think that by then everyone assumed I knew how to do gravy. I saw people scraping about with a spatula over a boiling pan for ages and thought “what the,” to myself, but never crossed the bridge of asking, “how the.”

Well, I still don’t know how to do that scraping about bit, but this is way easier in my opinion. It’s also very rich and delicious, and you don’t really have to do much (but it does take time, so remember to do it when you pop the turkey in). I thought a Canadian Thanksgiving post would be relevant because you ‘Mericans can hang onto it and give it a try when your Thanksgiving comes around. Kind of reminds me of how my ex-boyfriend’s birthday was a month before mine which was a total score because I could see how much he spent on me and reciprocate.  Going last rocks. Except for the whole football thing, as relates to Thanksgiving. I’ll stick with ours on that front, thanks. Maybe girls could choose what gets put on the TV this year to show how equal our culture is? All day alternation between Mad Men and the movie “300?”

Anyway, here’s the recipe, adapted originally from here. Chopping up and including the innards in the gravy is optional, but I’ve always strained them out because whenever I need gravy it seems to be a holiday, which is not always the best time to be dangerous.

Giblet Cream Gravy

  • Turkey neck, heart and gizzard

Turkey gibletsTurkey heart

  • 6C water
  • 3.5C low salt chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5Tbps butter
  • 5Tbsp flour
  • 1/4C cream
  • 1C reserved turkey juices (fat skimmed off)

Directions: Boil turkey guts with veg and water/broth, simmering for about 2 hours (should result in about 3 cups). Strain stock. 5-10 minutes before you’re ready to eat, melt butter and add flour to make a roux in another medium saucepan. Cook 2-3 mins. Slowly whisk in the stock you made. Add cream and turkey juices. Simmer to desired consistency, about 5 minutes.

Turkey dinner fancified

Turkey dinner fancified

Rating: 4 Yums. This recipe’s a keeper!

Question: Other than football, what would you watch on TV all day?


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