"How to Cook a Turkey" by an Xpert: Part 3: Giblet Gravy

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By Heidi Hoerman
from Columbia, SC

Are you someone who has never cooked a turkey before? Here's the recipe made for you. Follow it and you will have a turkey, stuffing, and gravy that will make your dinner companions groan with pleasure. These are the instructions my father sent me for my first time making a Thanksgiving bird. I was away at graduate school, too far away and too poor to get home and decided to hold a pot-luck thanksgiving with my fellow holiday orphans. Thing was, I didn't know the first thing about making the stars of the show: turkey, stuffing, and gravy. So, my father went out a couple weeks before Thanksgiving and bought and cooked a bird so he could write how he did it, step-by-step. He entitled the five handwritten pages "'How to Cook a Turkey' by an Xpert." The instructions are given as three recipes, one for the turkey, one for the dressing, and one for the gravy. The length of these instructions seems daunting but it you are a newbie, this recipe will allow you to make this iconic meal without fear. [I've added some information he left out in square brackets.]

serves to be determined by you
prep time 1 Hr
cook time 2 Hr


    giblets and neck from a turkey
  •   1-2
    stalks celery, chopped
  •   1 medium
    onion, chopped
    salt and pepper
  •   4 Tbsp

How To Make

  • 1
    "To make gravy: Boil neck & giblets (heart, liver & stomach) in lightly salted & peppered water with chopped celery & onion."
  • 2
    "Cook [simmer] 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the neck meat comes off the bone easily. Set aside to cool."
  • 3
    "Discard stomach. It's okay to eat but may be tough. Cut up heart and liver and put back into the water along with the neck meat."
  • 4
    "After turkey is cooked & taken out of the pan, put the pan on surface burner or lid. Pour liquid with neck and giblets into the roasting pan. Add water until you have the quantity of gravy you need."
  • 5
    "Heat to boiling, scraping the brown good stuff off bottom of pan. Cook until brown stuff dissolves."
  • 6
    "Make flour and water mixture for thickening gravy. I use the blender. About two cups H20 and 4 heaping tablespoons of flour. Blend on slow speed until thoroughly mixed with no lumps." [Shaking the water and flour in a jar also works. Stirring the flour into the water or vice versa is likely to result in lumps.]
  • 7
    "Add flour & water mix slowly to pan, stirring constantly, until gravy is the desired consistency. Turn down to the lowest heat until ready to serve. [At this point, letting the gravy cook slowly for awhile removes the flour taste and thickens the gravy. Stir occasionally.]

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