Roast Turkey with Jus, Gravy, or Giblet Gravy

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • yield:

    6

    servings gravy or jus (about 1¼ cups 300 milliliters )

Appears in

Sauces

By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

A gravy is made by thickening juices from a roast with flour. Making a generous amount of well-flavored turkey jus or gravy involves a paradox: If the turkey is properly cooked or if it is stuffed, it will release little in the way of juices. When overcooked, as most turkeys are, it will provide plenty of juices for your gravy. If the turkey has released an abundance of juices—a couple of cups (500 milliliters) or more—serving the jus is a simple matter of skimming off the fat and serving the juices as they are, as a jus. If the juices taste insipid, they can be reduced by half or more. To convert them to gravy, make a roux and add the juices to that. To make giblet gravy, roast the giblets in the pan along with the turkey, chop them fine, and add them to the finished gravy.

If you’ve cooked your turkey just right, you won’t see much in the bottom of the pan and what there is won’t have a whole lot of flavor. To get the most flavor out of a small amount of juices, boil down the juices until they caramelize on the bottom of the pan, pour out the fat (or leave a few tablespoons in the pan if you’re making a roux), and deglaze the pan with stock. Use only as much stock as you need to serve the guests at hand—about 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) per person—because the more stock you add, the less flavorful the juice will be. If you’re a fanatic, you can bring up the flavor of the jus by adding a little stock at a time and caramelizing after each addition. To stretch a small amount of jus without diluting its flavor, consider swirling in ½ ounce (15 grams) butter per serving.

Generally, when preparing a jus, you want to eliminate as much fat and grease as possible so the jus is clean and not oily. The trick for this is to caramelize all the juices on the bottom of the pan so the liquid fat ends up floating on top. Once the fat has been removed, an emulsifier can be used to thicken or add texture to the jus. An emulsifier should never be added too early or it will emulsify in the grease.

Sometimes, however, you may want to incorporate particularly delicious fats (foie gras comes to mind) into a jus. Incorporating clarified butter, beurre noisette, or ghee has long been thought impossible, since, unlike whole butter, they contain no emulsifiers and just sit on top of the sauce like an oil slick. However, there are a couple of approaches to emulsify in the clarified butter. One is to add a small amount of liquid lecithin (2% of the weight of the fat) to the fat along with a small amount of propylene glycol alginate (0.5% the weight of the liquid) to the liquid base.

Ingredients

roast turkey, giblets roasted in the pan with the turkey 1 1
flour or wondra (for gravy) 3 tbsp 45 ml
turkey or chicken stock or water (if there are insufficient juices) up to 2 cups up to 500 ml
cold butter, sliced (optional) 3 oz 90 g
liquid lecithin (optional) 2 g
beurre noisette, melted 3 oz 90 g
propylene glycol alginate (optional) 1.5 g
salt and pepper to taste to taste

Method

  1. Transfer the turkey to a platter and pour any juices that have accumulated in the cavity into the roasting pan.
  2. Chop the giblets, if using, until quite fine but not into a purée. Set aside.
  3. If the pan is swimming in juices and fat, pour everything into a glass measuring cup. Skim off the fat with a ladle. Discard the fat if you’re making jus or using Wondra to make gravy. If you’re making gravy with regular flour, put 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) of the fat back in the roasting pan and discard the rest. If necessary, add stock to the skimmed juices to make 2 cups (500 milliliters). Proceed to step 5 (jus) or step 6 (gravy).
  4. If there are less than 2 cups (500 milliliters) juices and fat in the roasting pan, put the pan on the stove over high heat. Move the pan around every couple of minutes so it heats evenly. Continue in this way until the juices evaporate, a brown crust forms on the bottom of the pan, and the only liquid in the pan is a layer of shiny liquid fat. If you’re making gravy with flour, leave 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) of the fat in the pan; otherwise pour out the fat.
  5. To make jus: Deglaze the roasting pan with the stock, scraping the bottom of the roasting pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve the juices, or put the combined skimmed jus and stock in a saucepan. Proceed to step 7.
  6. To make gravy: If using flour, add it to the fat in the pan and stir over medium heat until it smells toasty, about 3 minutes; return the juices plus stock to the pan, or add the stock. Scrape the pan, if necessary. If you’re using Wondra, first stir it into a slurry. Deglaze the pan with the stock, if necessary, or add the stock to the pan. Stir in the slurry.
  7. Simmer the jus or gravy until reduced to cups (300 milliliters). Strain. If using the giblets, stir them into the gravy.
  8. Whisk in the cold butter, if using. Alternatively, if using the beurre noisette, dissolve the lecithin into the warm beurre noisette, and the propylene glycol alginate into the jus, then whisk the beurre noisette into the jus. Season with salt and pepper.