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Recipes for Thanksgiving - Week 1 November 2013

I have two menues set up for Thanksgiving - trying to decide if I want to go traditional or something very different for us. The below recipe is the way I like to make stock and gravy, which can all be done ahead.

My Make Ahead Turkey Stock and Turkey Gravy

Making the Stock

8 smoked turkey necks (if cannot find smoked, use non-smoked)
2 onions, peeled and cut half crosswise and then in thirds (reserve onion peelings to put in stock for a rich golden color)

Salt and pepper necks and put into a large roasting pan, spread onions on top of necks. Put into cold oven, turn temperature to 400 and roast for 1 1/2 hours.

8 t chicken bouillon granules or Better Than Bouillon Turkey Base
3/4 cup whole baby carrots
Onion peelings
1/2 t dried thyme
Add the turkey necks
9 cups hot water, divided

Put the bouillon granules, carrot, reserved onion peeling, dried thyme, turkey necks into a large saucepan.

Heat 8 cups water in an electric kettle, add to saucepan and stir well. Heat another cup of water in the electric kettle and pour into roasting pan to deglaze well, stir and scrape to get up all bits, then pour into saucepan with other ingredients. Cover and put on burner. Turn heat to medium to bring to a simmer; lower heat until broth is slightly simmering and cook for 2 hours. Turn off heat, leave on stove, and let everything cool down overnight. Letting the necks cool in the stock is very important! It just makes the stock more robust. All the flavor and natural gelatins remain in the broth as long as possible.

The next morning place a sieve-type colander on top of a large bowl and put turkey necks standing as upright as possible into the sieve to drain into bowl. Let drain thoroughly.

When thoroughly drained, remove meat from necks. From 8 necks I get about 4 cups of meat. Put in dish and freeze. Save for soups, sandwiches, etc. Put turkey bones in a Ziploc bag and put in freezer for later stock making.

Pour and scrape all goodies from saucepan into sieve colander and let drip into large bowl. When thoroughly drained, take a large metal spoon and start mashing carrots, onions, etc., so that they drip their essence into the liquid. Will have to do this mashing several times and will end up having to scrape goodies off the sieve into the bowl. Cover bowl and put in refrigerator overnight. Stock will be very gelatinous.

Discard leavings in sieve into trash.

NOTE: If not making gravy and you just want to freeze the stock, store gelatinous stock in 2 cup portions in freezer Ziplock bags laid flat � this makes them easy to stack and easy to thaw. Also freeze some in ice cube trays for just a little shot of stock when it is needed.

Making the Gravy

This makes lots of gravy. You can reduce the amounts to suit your family.

Skim fat off top of broth if you want to. If you do, save the fat to use in making the gravy roux.

Heat 3/4 cup butter (or the skimmed fat and enough butter to make 3/4 cup) in a pan, add 3/4 cup flour; whisk together well until a nice golden brown. Slowly whisk 8 cups stock (if stock is congealed, heat to liquefy) into the roux. If desired, can add 2 T Madeira. Cook until reaches desired gravy consistency (remember gravy will get thicker as it sets, so be sure to cook only until it just below the consistency wanted in the end). Serve, or pour into containers and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.

Can store gravy in 2 cup portions in freezer Ziplock bags laid flat � this makes them easy to stack and easy to thaw.

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