In Remeberence of Mickey
In remembrance of the best domestic cook I have ever known, Mickey.
Her Thanksgiving dinners were always perfect. Perfect turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, home made cranberry sauce, and burnt rolls LOL. But the main thing I remember is her teaching me how to make gravy. Her gravy was always rich and dark and, as pop often said, “the gravy makes the meal”.
I learned to make her gravy by running back into the kitchen and watching and asking questions as she prepared. So here is her gravy recipe as best I can remember.
Put carrots and/or onions in the bottom of the turkey roasting pan. They will caramelize and add a rich darkness to the drippings which will color the gravy later.
After removing the turkey from the oven you will let it stand anyway right? So let your drippings stand too… let them cool down. You can’t make Mickey gravy in hot grease! Once the drippings cool mix in some flower and some water or broth or whatever. By letting the drippings cool the flower will mix in easily. It will not lump! I don’t know how many times I have heard, “my gravy is lumpy”. With near 100% certainty it is because, as Mickey said, “if it’s too hot it makes a bunch of mini-dumplings”.. or maybe that was Emirel on TV. Another way to do it is to mix a slurry of water and flour in a bowl and add that as you need to.
Anyway she just added flour or slurry mixing it slowly. She told me once she sometimes “cheated” if the gravy wasn’t dark enough by using a few drops of “Kitchen Bouquet”. hahahaha
Anyway I have been using Mickey’s recipe all my life. I have almost never had less than a, “great gravy” response from guests. Liz’s kids will be here for thanksgiving dinner and Mickey will have made the gravy in a way.
Cornstarch can be used in place of flour as it will emulsify much easier in hot drippings than will flower but has these problems:
It looks like corn starch gravy (glassy sheen)
It tasks like corn starch gravy (I can tell the difference)
If it gets too hot or cooks too long it will come apart.
Wow- one of my mother's doled-out jobs that was mine and only mine was to hold the strainer while she poured the flour/water slurry through it, From the time I was about four until I was at least 50.. She every so often added Kitchen Bouquet, too- although i never saw her do it, I think she did it in private. :-) Just had a little blast from the past reading your post.
I will be definitely putting carrots and onions under my bird this time. I can make a great pot roast & roasted pork gravy, and do that with both those. Why didn't I ever think of it for turkey. Do the veggies stick to the bottom of the bird when you take it out of the pan? Thanks so much for the veggie suggestion. I often sneak a little Gravy Master in when no one is looking too.
I use a roasting rack but still put carrot, onion, celery, and apple in the bottom of the pan for both turkey and chicken. You forfeit the potential for crisp skin all around the bird if you keep the skin in contact with the vegetables but that's certainly an option. The vegetables will collapse under the weight of a turkey or large chicken. The vegetables don't stick to the bird but you want them to brown enough that they stick to the pan a bit - that's flavorful fond! With a chicken, you can make a raft by lining up a row of alternating whole carrots and celery stalks.
Other raft options are onions sliced a half inch thick, and/or thick lemon slices.
Potato starch (usually left over from Passover) is a far superior thickening agent than cornstarch for gravy.