Today's Thanksgiving tip is actually a really simple one. However, if you're a first time turkey chef, you'll definitely want to listen up. When you buy a whole bird — this is true for many chickens as well — there is actually a small packet inside of it. The packet is in the cavity of the bird and it contains all the giblets — heart, gizzard, liver, etc. — wrapped up in either a paper or plastic pouch. Whatever you do, make sure you remove this from the bird, especially if it's plastic. If you don't, the paper may burn, or even worse the plastic may melt. If the paper burns, you might still be able to salvage everything, however, if the plastic melts it's all over. It will have contaminated the turkey and the giblets, and your meal will be ruined. So simple tip, reach in and take the giblets out of the turkey.
If you're wondering what to do with that little packet, why don't you try making a giblet stock for your gravy? To get the recipe,
Makes 4 1/2 cups
Turkey giblets (heart, gizzards) and neck
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup each chopped carrots and celery
5 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Chop turkey neck into 2-inch pieces. Cut heart lengthwise and divide gizzards into lobes. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium heat. Add giblets, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil; skim foam from surface. Add bay leaf, thyme, salt and peppercorns. Reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour. Strain through a fine sieve and add water to equal 4 ½ cups. Set aside for gravy. Refrigerate if not using right away.