Sara Moulton Answers Your Thanksgiving Feast Questions

The giblets and neck from one turkey (save the liver for another use, such as sauteing and serving on a piece of toast).
4 cups chicken broth (good quality canned is fine)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, cut in half
1 celery rib, cut in half
1 small parsnip (optional), cut in half
1 thyme sprig
1 parsley sprig
1 Turkish bay leaf
4 cups cold water

Combine the giblets and neck with the chicken broth in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down immediately and simmer, skimming and discarding the scum (this is just the protein solids from the giblets and neck, but it will cloud the broth if you leave it in) that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon. After about 20 minutes, when there is no more scum rising to the surface, add the remaining ingredients and bring the liquid back to a simmer. Simmer the broth, adding water as necessary to keep all the ingredients submerged in liquid, for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Strain and skim off any fat that settles at the top (You can use that fat for your pan gravy).

Sara Moulton's Answers Your Thanksgiving Cooking Questions

How do you make turkey gravy from drippings? How do you separate out the fat? -- Gwen from Sacramento

Sara's No-Fail Pan Gravy

I recommend making 1/2 cup gravy per person. You need that much gravy to pour over everything, and for leftovers. So here is the formula: For each cup of gravy you will need 1 cup broth, 1 1/2 tablespoons drippings, fat or butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour (preferably the instant kind, Wondra, which is what your grandmother favored because it didn't cause lumps in the gravy.) Here is a sample recipe for 4 cups gravy serving 8 people:

6 tablespoons fat from drippings in roasting pan, and/or butter or a combination
6 level tablespoons flour
4 cups turkey or chicken broth

After you have taken your roast out of the oven, transfer it to a platter and cover it loosely with foil. While it is resting put the roasting pan on the stove. Transfer whatever liquid is in the roasting pan to a glass measuring cup and let it settle. The fat will float to the top. Skim off the fat and measure it. (Save the liquid as well to add later) If you have 6 tablespoons fat, add them back to the pan. If you don't have that much, add whatever fat you have plus enough tablespoons of butter to make 6 tablespoons fat total. Heat the pan over low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook the mixture, whisking for 5 minutes. Add the broth in a steady stream, whisking. Turn up the heat to moderately high, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, whisking for 5 minutes. Whisk in any juices from the roast's resting platter as well as from the glass measuring cup. If the gravy seems thin, simmer it a few minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.

Note: You could substitute 1/2 cup white or red wine for 1/2 cup of the broth.

I always have a hard time making stuffing. I either get it too stiff or too mushy. Should it be cooked in the turkey or in a 9x13 pan or glass dish? -- Marian from Sanford, N.C.

Cooking the stuffing in the turkey makes the turkey cook longer. You can cook the stuffing in a casserole pan and use fresh bread not dry. You can cook the stuffing, while the turkey is resting. Cover the stuffing with foil for 15 minutes and then cook it uncovered for 15 minutes. Make sure the stuffing is properly moistened with butter or broth.

Sara Moulton's Basic Stuffing

Servings: 8
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 30-60 min

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