So Tammy, Granbunny and I are busy planning our semi-annual Mayhew/Harbin/Mayhew reunion and, of course, it’s all about the food. We’re going to do Thanksgiving early and I volunteered to make the gravy since Granbunny is bringing a turkey breast and there probably won’t be a smidge of juice from it.
I took a terrible turn with the gravy yesterday. I don’t know what I was thinking. I had one of those momentary food knowledge lapses because I promise I know better. I tried to make the gravy using bacon grease instead of butter. It looked beautiful. I tasted it. Dang, I thought. That tastes really…porky. I added more turkey stock. Still porky. Well, that went into the trash. So learn from my mistake. But you probably wouldn’t have been silly enough to use bacon grease in anything but cream gravy in the first place.
So, today I started over. Here’s what you do when you don’t get enough juice from your bird and you need to make some gravy without drippings.
You start by boiling a turkey leg, if you can find it, or a couple of chicken thighs if you can’t. Boil them until the meat falls off the bone and then shred it and dice it. You make a roux out of butter and flour. Add in the stock and whisk until it’s as thick as you like your gravy. Season the gravy with salt, pepper and thyme. Then add in the chicken. You will be good to go and I defy anyone to detect that you made the gravy three days before the reunion and stuck it in the freezer. By the way, if you’re going to add cream to the gravy – and that would be a very good idea – do it after you thaw it out and warm it up. It just looks nicer.
1 turkey leg or 2 chicken thighs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups boxed turkey stock
Salt, pepper and thyme to taste
Fill a pot big enough for the leg or thighs with water. Bring it to a simmer and add the meat. Simmer for about an hour or until the meat falls off the bone. Pick meat off bones, shred, dice and reserve.
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet or pot. Add the flour and stir relentlessly until the roux just begins to turn golden. Slowly (or you will end up in the hospital), stream in the turkey stock. Continue whisking until the gravy thickens. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Add chicken to the gravy.
This will freeze up to three months or you can refrigerate it for up to three days.