Every Thanksgiving I make a giblet gravy using the birds we harvested that fall. The ingredients are a reflection of the hunting season, so the recipe varies year to year. Sometimes I make it with the giblets and wings from ducks; other times it’s from a handful of upland gamebirds.
The beautiful thing about cooking this traditional dish with wild bird hearts, gizzards, livers, necks, and/or wing tips is knowing that I’m using the whole bird. This is a great way to give thanks and show gratitude for success in the field.
Time to make
Giblets and wings from 1 turkey or goose, or from multiple pheasants or ducks*
1 large shallot, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
2-4 sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
8 cups unsalted turkey or chicken stock
1/3 cup butter (or schmaltz from roasted turkey)
1/3 cup flour
Drippings from turkey*
Oil for cooking
Salt and pepper
Also works with
- Prepare the giblets first. To clean the gizzard, make a vertical cut down the middle to expose the gravel and discard. Rinse well with water. Cut away the thick, yellow membrane that was encasing the grit. You should be left with two pieces of meat. Slice the thin layers of silver skin away from these two pieces. If you are using the neck from a goose or turkey, cut it in half or thirds so it fits in the pot. This also helps it cook faster.
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of oil and brown the giblets. Remove and set aside.
- Add the sliced shallots and garlic to the pan. Sauté until they just start to soften and deglaze with the white wine. Scrape up the fond or cracklings at the bottom of the pan.
- Return the giblets to the pot and pour in all the stock. Drop in the fresh herbs and bay leaf.
- Bring the pot to a soft boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the giblets until the neck and gizzard meat is tender enough to chop or shred. This could take several hours. Reduce the stock down to roughly 3 cups. If you find that the stock has reduced before the giblets are tender, add water as necessary.
- Use tongs to pull the neck and giblets out from the stock. Use a fork to shred the neck meat. Chop the gizzard, heart, and liver. Set aside and reserve.
- Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer, discard the solids and save the reduced stock. This can be made a day or two in advance.
- Just before serving, wipe the pot clean and return it to the burner over medium heat. Add the butter or schmaltz. When the butter begins to foam, sprinkle in the flour. Whisk continuously to make the roux and to prevent from burning. Cook until the roux turns the color of peanut butter or milk chocolate.
- Slowly pour the strained stock into the roux, continue to whisk to avoid clumps. Once fully incorporated, you can add the drippings* from the turkey roasting pan. Return the chopped giblets and shredded neck meat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. The gravy will continue to thicken. Add water to thin or increase the heat to reduce and thicken to desired consistency.
*You can use the carcasses from the birds to make a homemade stock, or use them in this recipe and replace the stock for water.
*To get the most flavor out of the turkey drippings, pour 1/4 cup stock, water, or white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan while still hot to deglaze and scrape the fond. Strain this liquid and separate excess fat before pouring into the gravy.