Pan Gravy Basics
The real gravy of a roasting a holiday bird is, well just that… the gravy, and nothing says turkey gravy like delicious, old-fashioned pan gravy. Pan gravy derives its flavor and telling character from both a rich stock, and the wonderful juices and dripping fats created by the cooking bird, and collected in the roasting pan, aka the pan drippings.
The Mother Sauce
Although deceivingly simple, pan gravies or sauces are rather sophisticated cuisine. In fact, in French cooking they are highly regarded as a mother sauce. You will know a good one when you taste it because it is pure ambrosia, smooth and delicious enough to eat all by itself. So much so, that it may actually surprise you to find how easy they are to make.
You start by making two different types of fonds – or bases. The first fond is your stock, which will be the hearty liquid foundation for your gravy. The second is a deglazing sauce made of the pan drippings, used to enrich the flavor of the Read more
Bread Stuffing Basics
Bread stuffing aka dressing, cooked inside the bird can delicately impart flavor and moisture to the meat, while in turn the delicious natural juices from the meat enrich the flavor and moisture of the stuffing. When cooked outside the bird, it can be equally moist and delicious, safely cooked ahead of time, and overall, much easier to control with regard to final moisture and texture. When cooked sans stuffing, the bird will cook faster too. Bottom line, no matter what you call it or where you cook it, stuffing is a signature holiday dish.
The nature and quality of the bread, as well as how it is prepared, will account for a dressings primary texture. A ‘dry’ dressing will retain a pleasant coarse or even crisp texture. Dressings that call for fresh bread or breadcrumbs, especially when moistened with stock, are softer and more even-textured. What’s nice is there isn’t a hard and fast rule as to what should go into Read more
How to Make Turkey Stock
The precious juices created and saved from the cooking of vegetables and meats, have long been used by cooks to enrich and enhance the flavor of food. In French cooking, these are fonds de cuisine - the foundations of cooking, and this practice of creating and using these juices is elevated to an art form of different fonds as stocks, reductions and sauces.
When making a poultry stock, these prized juices are created by cooking the bones of the bird together with a mirepoix - a specific combination of chopped aromatic vegetables, in a large stockpot of water. The initial cooking draws or extracts the flavor and juices from the ingredients, and additional hours of cooking slowly distills those juices and flavors into a rich stock. This all-important stock is what will give your gravy its telling character.
It is true that you can simply boil the neck and gizzard in lightly salted water and use the resulting liquid to make your gravy. However, it is only a little more work, and not that much more elaborate to make a good basic brown turkey stock. If you plan to butterfly or debone your turkey, you will have a wealth of good bones to add to the pot. If not, you can also make use of any fresh or frozen chicken bones and trimmings you may have saved for making chicken stock, as they will reflect the flavor of the turkey.
Rich Brown Stock
A basic brown turkey stock is made by first roasting or browning the bones before adding them to the stockpot, and mixing with a mirepoix, in a combination of 2 parts onion and carrots to 1 part celery, as an aromatic flavor base. When making a white stock, you start the stock with raw bones and a white mirepoix, replacing the carrots with parsnips to achieve a more pale color, and often adding leeks and mushrooms.
This simple brown stock is a wonderful, hearty base for delicious brown gravy. If you are starting Read more
In our holiday video, D’Artagnan Talks Turkey: Part 1—Just the facts, you’ll learn all about our entire turkey lineup. In this short video, Ariane will run through each bird – from how it’s raised to how many people it will feed and all the details in between. Still can’t decide which turkey to buy? Check out A Few Words About our Birds for even more information and side by side comparison.