Andrew Zimmern's Tip For Making Flavorful Turkey Gravy

Thanksgiving Day turkey and those velvety, smooth mashed potatoes are not quite the same without the gravy, that beautiful sauce made from the bird's salty drippings that makes everything it touches taste that much better. But if you want to make a truly flavorful sauce that will make your tastebuds pop, award-winning chef Andrew Zimmern recommends roasting those turkey extras — i.e. the gizzard, neck, heart, and liver — under the bird and the rack it rests on. That's right, do not throw them away. 

The Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods" host explains in a video on his YouTube channel that roasting those "goodies" is going to make them caramelize and create a more flavorful fond, otherwise known as the browned, sticky bits at the bottom of the pan that really amp up the taste of any gravy. So, how does Zimmern transform these parts into something magical? While the bird and giblets roast, he pours some chicken stock into the bottom of the pan which adds to the rich, savory flavor that is being created. He also adds some chopped-up white onions. But this is only step one of the gravy-making process.

A smooth, balanced consistency is key to great gravy

Andrew Zimmern then pours the stock and fond into a measuring pitcher along with all of the giblets before removing them. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, he says that you want to be pretty precise with the amount of stock you are going to use because you'll be reducing it by 25% and then adding other ingredients in a 1:1 ratio. But, before reducing it, he adds the roasted turkey extra "goodies" into the pan and goes to work making a roux of butter and flour. Then, he slowly adds the reduction, removes the giblets, and whisks the roux and stock until he gets the perfect consistency.

Creating the ideal texture and consistency of your gravy is just as important as nailing its flavor. It should be smooth without any lumps or bumps and you don't want it to be either extreme of too thin or too thick. It needs to be just right. Luckily, there are easy fixes for both of these common challenges. If your gravy becomes too thick, just add a little more stock or hot water. And if it is too thin, cornstarch or flour can help thicken it up, though the amounts required will vary depending on what you used to create your roux. Then, all that's left to do is season it however you'd like, drizzle it over your turkey, and enjoy!