Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giblet Gravy

One Christmas, I must have been about 6 or 7, my great uncle gave me a HUGE candy cane as his present to me. Everything seems so much bigger when you are little but I swear, that thing must have been about 18 inches long and 3 inches in diameter! It was gigantic!

After Christmas dinner, one of my cousins kept teasing and tormenting me relentlessly and we started squabbling. My mother made me come inside and I was furious. My uncle took me aside and privately whispered to me that if my cousin bothered me again, I was to take that candy cane he gave me and whack my cousin with it! He wasn’t serious, but being a little kid, I took what he said seriously.

So, when my cousin started tormenting me again, I grabbed my candy cane weapon, swung it like a bat and {{{{CRACK}}}}, whacked him in the head with it! He let out a blood curdling scream. All the parents came running outside and there I was standing over him, holding my broken, shattered candy cane with a very satisfied smile on my face!

This is the Giblet gravy recipe that goes with my South Louisiana Cornbread Dressing. These are dishes that we serve at both Thanksgiving and Christmas unless we do a Cajun Christmas meal. I used to make Giblet gravy exactly the way my grandmother made it…with the actual Turkey Giblets. But after she passed away and in response to several requests, I stopped doing that and have since been using either breast or thigh meat.

Since this can be made ahead of time and frozen, I usually bake some chicken or make some Chicken Gumbo the week or two before. Then I use a little of the meat and the all of the pan drippings from it and make the gravy then, freezing it for later. Additionally, I usually double the recipe, then when it's cool, divide it in half and freeze both separately: one batch for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas!

3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can chicken broth
Garlic powder, Onion powder, Celery salt and Tonys, to taste
1 to 1-1/2 cups Chicken breast or thigh meat, chopped fine***
Pan drippings

Over medium-low heat, combine the oil and flour in a large saucepan and make a dark roux. Slowly stir in the chicken broth, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the gravy is smooth and thickened. Add pan drippings and allow to thicken again.

Reduce heat to low, add seasonings and the giblets. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Recheck seasonings, adding more if necessary. This gravy can be made ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated until needed.

My grandmother's way of making it is as follows:

In a medium sauce pot, boil 1 stalk of celery and 1/2 a medium onion along with the turkey neck and giblets. Season water with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Cook until done. Discard celery and onion. Remove neck and giblets and allow to cool. Make a dark brown roux and add the pan drippings and the seasoned broth you just made (refer to recipe above for instructions). When neck and giblets are cool, remove meat from neck bone, finely chop it and the giblets. Stir that into your gravy. Recheck seasonings and serve.

***Note: I usually bake some chicken for dinner or make a pot of Gumbo the week before, separate enough chicken and the pan drippings and make my gravy at the same time. Then I freeze the gravy and later thaw it out in the refrigerator the day before I need it.

*** When I make chicken salad, I freeze my broth and use that when I make my gravy instead of using canned broth. See Gourmet Chicken Salad recipe.

***See Tips and Information for making a roux and for Tony's.

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