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Thanksgiving Turkey Stock and Gravy

If you want to be a hero on Thanksgiving, nailing a homemade turkey stock is key. This is what makes stuffing extra delicious and creates a truly rich and delicious gravy (more so than pan drippings).

Make this stock on Tuesday or Wednesday night prior to Thanksgiving. It will make the whole house smell great early on and ensure you have this stock ready to go for recipes on Thanksgiving day.

Turkey Stock Ingredients

  • Carcass from broken down turkey or backbone from spatchcocked turkey plus neck and wing tips
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 lb whole carrots (about 3), unpeeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 large onion, roughly peeled and washed, chopped into chunks
  • Celery trimmings from one bunch (bottoms, tops, leaves, and core, just not root end)
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, halved with or without peel
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • Sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and sage (optional) - don't use dried herbs because it will make the stock bitter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12-16 cups water depending on how much stock you want and how big your pot is
Turkey Stock Directions
  • For the turkey parts, I like to rinse them under water and remove any uncleaned innards plus remove any skin and fat. They make the stock too greasy. 
  • Once cleaned, season the turkey parts evenly with salt and pepper. You don't need to pat them dry. They are about to be drenched in water anyway.
  • In a large stock pot, heat oil on medium heat and add the turkey parts. Brown for 10 minutes flipping sides of the parts occasionally. You want to develop a dark brown fond at the bottom of the pan just before it burns and turns black.
  • Add the water and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer overnight.
  • Remove the large turkey and vegetable parts with thongs then pour the stock into a bowl or pitcher through a wire mesh sieve to separate out any remaining chunks.
  • If desired, allow the stock to rest for the fat to float to the top and spoon out or use a fat separator.
Gravy Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup corn starch or 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • Equal parts cold water
  • 4 cups turkey stock
  • Heart and gizzard from turkey giblets (optional)
Gravy Directions
  • Mix the starch/flour with the water to create a slurry. Be sure to work out any clumps.
  • Heat the turkey stock in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer/light boil over medium heat.
  • While whisking the stock, pour in the slurry mixture slowly.
  • Continue cooking on medium heat until the desired consistency is reached. Note it will continue to thicken as it cools so aim for more runny than thick.
  • Serve from the saucepan or pour into a gravy boat.
  • If you want a chunky gravy, sauté the heart and gizzard in butter or oil first. Then remove and dice into chunks. Follow the directions above and add the chunks to the gravy at the end.