Thursday, November 22, 2007

giblet gravy

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and remove the other racks. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Discard the liver, set the others aside. Dry the turkey inside and out with paper towels. Season the breast cavity with salt and pepper. Slice the onions and halve the garlic head crosswise. Stuff all the garlic and half the onions inside the turkey along with some of the herbs and 1 bay leaf. Halve the carrots and celery lengthwise; put them in the center of the roasting pan and set the turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables. (Vegetables take place of rack.)

Rub olive oil over skin and season with salt and pepper. Tent turkey with aluminum foil and roast for about 2 hours.

Cook the rest of the onion, neck and giblets in the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until browned, about 15 minutes. Add broth, remaining herbs, bay leaf; cover and simmer over medium-low heat while turkey roasts, about 2 hours. Discard giblets if desired, or reserve for giblet gravy.

After 2 hours, remove the foil from the turkey. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer stuck in the dark-meat thigh registers at least 180, about 1 hour more. Transfer turkey to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

For the gravy: Pour all the turkey pan drippings into a liquid measuring cup and discard the vegetables. Put measuring cup in the freezer for a few minutes so that the fat separates. Ladle off 1/2 cup of the fat from the top of the measuring cup and transfer to a saucepan. If you don't get enough fat, add butter to equal 1/2 cup.

Heat fat over medium heat, scatter the flour evenl on top and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the flour browns slightly and smells toasty, about 4 minutes. Switch to a whisk; then gradually and carefully ladle the hot broth into the flour mixture while whisking constantly. Bring the gravy to a boil; adjust the heat so it simmers gently. Skim and discard any excess fát from0the remaining drippings in the measuring cup and add remaining pan drippings to the gravy. Continue to simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with the Worcestershire, salt and pepper.

Remove and discard onion, garlic, herbs and bay leaf from the turkey cavity. Pour any juices that have accumulated into the gravy. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes an up to 45 before carving. Tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Source: Adapted from Food Network kitchens
LITTLE ROCK - Gov. Mike Beebe traded in his typical workday suit for more casual attire and a white apron Wednesday as he and first lady Ginger Beebe prepared to celebrate their first Thanksgiving in the Gov.'s Mansion.

The state's first couple sent the mansion's kitchen staff home for the holiday and took over a large kitchen typically used to prepare banquets to fix Thanksgiving dinner for 24 family members visiting the Little Rock mansion.

"Ginger doesn't like this kitchen because it's bigger than what she's used to," the governor said as he chopped onions and celery for the dinner.

Beebe said he and the first lady usually eat their meals and prepare them in the residence portion of the Gov.'s Mansion. But for Thanksgiving dinner, they used a larger restaurant-style kitchen adjacent to the Mansion's Great Hall.

"It's not my kitchen, so I'm having some trouble finding my way around here," Ginger Beebe said. "It's big, but it's good. I'm just looking forward to having the family here and everyone taking part, because the kitchen's big enough for it."

It's the first major holiday in the mansion for the family, who moved in when Beebe was sworn in as the state's 45th governor in January.

The menu for the Beebe Thanksgiving dinner sounds like the type of thing that would make the slimmed-down former Gov. Mike Huckabee's mouth water. Now a Republican presidential candidate, Huckabee swore off fatty foods in his last years as governor.

The Beebes plan to set out four turkeys _ two smoked and two white _ along with blackeyed peas, twiced-baked potatoes, deviled eggs and candied yams. To finish it off, they'll have plenty of pies _ two each of pumpkin, pecan and chocolate, to be exact.

The dinner will even have what Beebe called a mandatory staple of his Thanksgiving dinner, something he calls "sloppy dressing."

"It's got to have so much kitchen broth and liquid in it that you don't need the giblet gravy," Beebe said. "Now we've got the giblet gravy and you can put in on there, but you can live without it because it's that moist. I don't know who started calling it that, but I've always called it sloppy dressing." Thanksgiving turkey would be naked without the proper broth and gravy. Check out Sara Moulton's recipes and add these garnishes to perfect your meal.

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Turkey Broth

Makes about 4 cups

The giblets and neck from 1 turkey (save the liver for another use, such as sauteing and serving on a piece of toast)

4 cups chicken broth (good quality canned is fine)

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

1 small carrot, cut in half

1 celery rib, cut in half

1 small parsnip (optional), cut in half

1 thyme sprig

1 parsley sprig

1 Turkish bay leaf

4 cups cold water

Combine the giblets and neck with the chicken broth in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down immediately and simmer, skimming and discarding the skum (this is nothing scarier than the protein solids from the giblets and neck but it will cloud the broth if you leave it in) that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon.

After about 20 minutes, when there is no more skum rising to the surface, add the remaining ingredients and bring the liquid back to a simmer. Simmer the broth, adding water as necessary to keep all the ingredients submerged in liquid, for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Strain and skim off any fat that settles at the top (You can use that fat for your pan gravy).

Pan Gravy

I recommend making ½ cup gravy per person since it is Thanksgiving. You need that much gravy to pour over everything, and for leftovers. So here is the formula. For each cup of gravy, you will need:

1 cup turkey or chicken broth
1 ½ tablespoons drippings, fat or butter
1 ½ tablespoons flour (preferably the instant kind, Wondra, which Granny favored because it didn't cause lumps in the gravy)

Here is a sample recipe for 4 cups gravy serving 8 people:

6 tablespoons fat from drippings in roasting pan, and/or butter or a combination

6 level tablespoons flour

4 cups turkey or chicken broth

After you have taken your turkey out of the oven, transfer it to a platter and cover it loosely with foil. While it is resting put the roasting pan on the stove. Transfer whatever liquid is in the roasting pan to a glass measuring cup and let it settle. The fat will float to the top. Skim off the fat and measure it. (Save the liquid as well to add later)

If you have 6 tablespoons fat, add them back to the pan. If you don't have that much, add whatever fat plus enough tablespoons of butter to make 6 tablespoons fat total. Heat the pan over low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking for 5 minutes.

Add the broth in a steady stream, whisking. Turn up the heat to moderately high, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, whisking for 5 minutes. Whisk in any juices from the turkey resting platter as well as from the glass measuring cup. If the gravy seems thin, simmer it a few minutes. Taste
The guests are starting to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, but you're in the kitchen in a cold sweat. The gravy is lumpy, the dressing is dry and the turkey is brown on the outside but still gobbling on the inside. Don't panic — the cavalry's here. We asked some of the area's top chefs for advice on fixing Thanksgiving disasters.

Turkey troubles
• The bird is done but not brown: "Make a paste out of 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar," says chef Charlie Widner of Tomato Jam Café in Asheville. "Rub it all over the outside of the bird, place it back in the oven under the broiler and watch it closely until it's the desired brownness."

• You left the giblet bag in the bird: No problem. Although you won't be able to use them for giblet gravy, just pull out the bag and discard it. The paper bags won't burn, the plastic ones won't melt, and the bird will be just fine.

• Bird is brown, but not done: "I hope you got some time, because that's what it needs," said chef Joe Scully of Asheville's Corner Kitchen. "Place the bird in the oven at a very low temperature — try 275 degrees." You can also try covering the roasting pan completely with aluminum foil, reducing heat by 50 to 75 degrees and allowing turkey to finish cooking inside. "If all else fails," Widner said, "cut the bird down the breast and through the backbone, lay it in the pan covered with foil and it will cook faster at regular temperature."

Gravy goofs
• Lumpy gravy: This is an easy one to solve. "Use a wire whisk to beat the living daylights out of it," laughed John Stehling, chef and co-owner of Early Girl Eatery. "Add a little more liquid and whisk some more until it's smooth."

"Just run your gravy through a sieve (strainer)," said Rob Boyce, executive sous chef at Highland Lake Inn in Flat Rock. Another trick is to run the gravy through a blender. To prevent lumps, cook the flour in the pan drippings while stirring it vigorously with a whisk or slotted spoon.

• Gravy too salty: "Add slices of peeled, raw potato to soak up some of the saltiness," Stehling said.

Dressing disasters
• Stuffing too dry: 'Remove the dressing from the pan, put it into a larger pan and gently break it apart," Widner said. "Stir in more liquid, cover and let the dressing sit in a 175 degree oven. It will lightly steam itself."

• Stuffing too gummy: "If the dressing is too gummy, add more croutons or corn bread, depending on your recipe," Scully said.

• Speaking of stuffing, the importance of food safety can't be stressed enough. Remember; never stuff a turkey until right before roasting. To do so can invite the growth of harmful bacteria that can result in food poisoning.

Cranberry conundrums and pie peccadilloes
• Cranberry sauce is too tart: Mix sugar in hot water to dissolve it and stir into the sauce. Using powdered sugar will also work, plus thicken the cranberry sauce slightly at the same time.

• Piecrust is burned around edges: Here, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. "I bake my pies on the bottom rack of the oven (gas oven) or bottom third (electric oven) which ensures a crisp bottom crust and a not so brown top crust," said Barbara Swell, author of "The Lost Art of Pie."

To prevent the crust from browning too fast, Swell advises not to put sugar in your piecrust or sprinkle the edges with sugar. It makes the crust brown too quickly.

If the crust of your pumpkin pie is brown but the center isn't quite set, put pieces of aluminum foil around the outside of the pie plate to cover the crust.

This will keep the crust from browning further until the pie is done.


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