How to Use Giblets for Perfect Gravy
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
When we think of our Thanksgiving meal, we think of turkey, dressing, and all the
fixings. For many, it would not be a complete feast without giblet gravy poured over
the top of cornbread dressing, turkey, and maybe even mashed potatoes. But how do
you make perfect giblet gravy, and what are giblets anyway?
Giblets are the heart, liver, and gizzard of a poultry carcass. You likely will find the neck packaged with them, but it is not a giblet.
In whole ready to cook poultry, giblets are located in a bag in the abdominal cavity. They will not be from the original bird. Ready to cook whole poultry is required to be purchased with giblets. USDA allows at least half of each giblet. Sometimes parts of the giblets may be missing. If your bird states that giblets may be missing, it is a good indication that giblets may not be present in the bird.
There are three ways to safely thaw giblets. These are the same methods, as you would use for your turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. It is never safe to thaw them on the counter.
What do you do with the giblets now that you have thawed them? Traditionally, they are cooked by simmering in water for use in flavoring soups, dressing or gravy. Once cooked, the liver will become crumbly and the heart and gizzard will soften and become easy to chop. Cooked giblets should be firm in texture. Dressing with giblets should be cooked to a safe temperature of 165 degrees F.
If you left the giblets inside the turkey while cooking, you have options depending upon the packaging used by the manufacturer. If they were packed in paper and wrapped before being inserted in the poultry body cavity, then you are good. There is no concern if they are accidently cooked inside the cavity in paper wrapping.
If the giblets were packed in a plastic bag and you forgot to remove them and they were cooked, then we have a problem. Once the bag has been altered or melted by the cooking process, do not use the giblets or bird because harmful chemicals may have leached in the surrounding meat. If the plastic bag was not altered, the giblets and bird should be safe to use as long as the meat is fully cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
To find the giblet package, look inside either the main cavity of the bird or in the neck cavity, located between the wings of the turkey. Once found, set it aside in the refrigerator, with the neck, to open and cook separately. This package will include the liver, gizzard and heart.
Once the turkey is in the oven and dinner is nearing completion, it is time to start on the giblet gravy. This is the perfect accompaniment for your turkey (good on chicken too), dressing and mashed potatoes. It is a lot easier to make than you think also.
The best part of the holidays for me is the meal shared between family and friends. It is getting all the nieces and nephews home from college or work at the same time, which is no small feat in itself. It is the conversation and, oh the things we learn and listening, absorbing and savoring the banter that centers around the traditional foods which are timeless and perfected family recipes. To me, this simulates my memories of childhood, with my grandmother in the kitchen and many stories of the family all dotted the conversation. This food is the essence of family and the very heart of Thanksgiving.
Add this Perfect Giblet Gravy to your Thanksgiving meal. You might like it so much you make it year round with your chicken as well. May your Thanksgiving be blessed with memories, laughter and family.
Perfect Giblet Gravy
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (add additional tablespoons individually as needed)
48 ounces chicken broth
Salt, pepper and sage to taste
3-4 eggs, hard boiled and sliced or chopped
Giblets, boiled and chopped
Begin making the roux over low heat. Melt butter in a large skillet, whisk in several heaping tablespoons of flour while continuously stirring. If you get lumps, keep whisking. It will start melting into a semi-liquid. Saturate with flour and keep whisking. The roux will darken as the flour cooks. Continue this process until roux transforms to a dark gold/medium brown color. Next, remove from heat and reserve for gravy. Using large sauce pan, bring broth and seasoning to a boil. Take part of liquid and ladle into the roux, whisk together and then add to main broth. Keep whisking at a slow boil until it thickens. Add eggs and giblets. Gravy should thicken up. Keep warm on the stove and pour into gravy boat before serving.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDue, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.edu/Miller.
By Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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