Stuffing, Giblets and Gravy

Stuffing, Giblets and Gravy

Stuffing, Giblets and GravyTurkey Extras: Stuffing, Giblets and Gravy

By Brenda Hyde

Roasting a turkey for the holidays is only part of the dinner. The trimmings, including gravy and stuffing, are an important part of the festive meal, and just like the turkey, it's essential to keep food safety in mind as well as taste.

Stuffing: Stuffing ingredients can be prepared ahead, but the wet and dry ingredients shouldn't be combined until it's time to stuff the turkey. You should plan on about 3/4 cup of stuffing per turkey pound when planning the meal. The stuffing should be moist, freshly mixed and the ingredients such as sausage, seafood etc. should be cooked before mixing into the stuffing.

When you test your bird for its internal temperature, test the stuffing too. It should register at least 165 degrees F. in the center of the cavity. Below are recipes to try if you don't have a tried and true family recipe of your own.

Stuffing can be made out of any type of bread, biscuit, cornbread or savory muffins. Cut the bread into small cubes and leave it out overnight to dry it out a bit, so the stuffing doesn't end up soggy. Experiment with a combination of different breads to try something different. There are many subtle things you can change in stuffing recipes to give it your own twist. The following will give you an idea what might work for your stuffing.

Vegetables: celery, onion, leeks, carrots, fennel bulb, turnip, green pepper or garlic.

Spices and Herbs: sage, thyme, parsley, rosemary, fennel, oregano, basil, chives, or lovage.

Meat or seafood: oysters, sausage, kielbasa, giblets, bacon

Fruit/Nuts: cranberries, apple, pecans, walnuts, dried cherries

Liquid: vegetable, turkey or chicken broth, water, milk


Basic Stuffing


1/2 cup fat- melted butter, bacon fat, margarine or oil

2 cups chopped onion, leeks or combination

2 cups other vegetable- celery, root vegetables etc.

3 tbsp. fresh herbs- sage, thyme, parsley etc. (1/2 amount for dried)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

10-12 cups cubed or torn bread

1/2 cup broth or other liquid (may need more)

Add 1/2 of the fat (1/4 cup) to a skillet and sauté the onion, herbs and vegetables. In a large bowl, combine this with the rest of the fat, the bread cubes and the liquid. Toss.

The stuffing should hold together but not be wet. If it's too dry, add a little more liquid.

Variations: Using the guideline lists above, you can add cooked meat, diced fruit or other herbs. The recipe is really just a guideline so you know the amount of bread to liquid to use, but don't be afraid to add your own touches.

Giblets: These are often in a small package within the cavity of the turkey, but sometimes they are loose. The giblets are the heart, liver and gizzard of the turkey. Most of the time the neck is packaged with the giblets. The giblets are a love it or hate it thing for most people. I personally put them in the bottom of the roaster with a cup or so of water to flavor the broth, which I use for gravy. I remove the giblets and the neck for the enjoyment of the feral cats that always seem to be lurking around our rural home. Here is another method of boiling the giblets and neck to add to the turkey drippings for a gravy after the turkey is finished roasting.

Stuffing, Giblets and Gravy

Turkey Giblet Gravy


Turkey giblets and neck

1-2 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. ground sage, or minced fresh sage

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

6 cups water

Saute the turkey parts, onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is soft. Add the spices and water bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover, but crack the lid slightly on the pan and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from heat and cool. Strain the broth, and discard the giblets and neck, or dice any meat and add it back to the broth. When the turkey is finished roasting, use this broth by adding to the roasting pan and thickening for gravy. I use cornstarch mixed with water to thicken gravy (about 2 tbsp.).

Gravy Notes: Whether you use the giblet/neck broth with the turkey drippings, or purchased stock, it's important to taste the broth mixture before adding the thickening. If it doesn't taste flavorful at that point then seasonings or more broth should be added. If cornstarch or flour is added, and then brought to a boil but it's still too thin, add another tablespoon of cornstarch. Bring to another boil while stirring.

Gravy is one of those things that each cook learns to make from trial and error. My gravy is a little on the thinner side, but my husband's is very thick. We always argue which one of us makes the better gravy.


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