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Jun 3, 2013 10:08 AM

What parts of the turkey do you use for giblet gravy?

I am planning an out-of-season turkey dinner. I would like to make giblet gravy, but the instructions on what parts of the turkey to use and how to cook them seem to vary. There are the liver, heart, gizzard and neck. Some instructions warn you not to use the liver, while others state that using the liver will give the gravy a richer taste. The heart and the gizzard both seem tough to me. Is using them okay? And some recipes call for the neck but do not really explain what part of the neck you are to use. I assume that you scrape off the meat from the neck, with no attempt to incorporate the bones. Is this correct? And do you grind the giblets or just chop them up finely? How long should you cook them independently of the rest of the bird?

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  1. What parts of the turkey do you use for giblet gravy?

    The giblets, Silly.

    Serious answer, the neck, heart and everything else that comes in the package except the liver goes into a pot. I add enough water to cover everything by an inch or so. Add a small carrot, half an onion, small celery rib, 12 peppercorns, bay leaf and a clove. Bring to a boil, skim off foam and then let simmer for as long as you can, occasionally adding water. Should let simmer for at least 2 hours. Strain broth. Chop heart and kidney meat into a fine dice. If you have cooked the broth long enough, the meat on the neck can be pulled off. Chop this up too. Get a sauce pan, put some of the rendered turkey fat from the roasting in it and sear the liver until brown. Measure the amount of broth. Place 1 tablespoon of turkey fat and 1 tablespoon of flour per cup of broth in sauce pan and stir to blend fat and flour. Cook this roux for a few minutes then pour in broth and stir until thick. Chop liver into fine dice and add to gravy along with other minced meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Feel free to riff on the basic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bkeats

      Very good instructions. This is pretty much how everyone does it. Turkey neck meat is particularly succulent.

      I would caution you though that making gravy based on neck stock alone either gives you very weak gravy or not enough of it.

      To me, the point of a turkey dinner is a turkey gravy. So, I always make unsalted turkey stock in advance and in quantity to use with the extra necks and giblets. i.e. ten necks and a thigh or two.

    2. Use at the giblets as you would a chicken or turkey bones, add to water and aromatic to flavor the gravy "stock".

      (Optional) When giblets are cooked thoroughly, everything will be soft and easily shreddable (sp?). You can pull the meat off the turkey neck and chop the other part to add back into the gravy. Using the liver is your call. You can give it a try to see if you like it with the liver.

        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

          Yes, but not in the gravy! I prefer to dice and sautee the liver along with the onions and celery that will be going into the stuffing. I have had stuffing/dressing without the liver and found it disappointing.

          I put the rest of the giblets in the bottom of the pan while the bird is roasting - off to the sides so they get really caramelized. I also throw a carrot, celery, and chunked onion into the pan to further flavor the drippings.Then I pick the meat off the neck and finely dice the heart and gizzard while deglazing the pan. I add chicken broth, cornstarch slurry, and herbs to complete the gravy. Sometimes apple cider or wine, too. The finished bird rests while these steps are happening.

        2. I was raised to use everything INCLUDING the liver. We even buy extra chicken hearts, gizzards, and livers so there is plenty for everyone.