Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for family (to drive you crazy). Whether they mean to or not (and usually out of love). A time for them to guilt you into making homemade ice cream and having the machine not work. But that's all part of the Thanksgiving experience (as my Uncle Danny might say).
My favorite cooking tasks are the super repetitive ones. If the recipe calls for rolling hundreds of cheese balls, kneading dough for 20 minutes or stuffing millions of mushrooms, I'm in heaven. Making stock is the opposite of that.
For really good gravy, you need homemade stock. For Thanksgiving, when you've got lots of giblets and spare parts hanging about your kitchen from the turkey, you have no excuse not to make some. Here's my turkey parts. The liver is the thing in the down left corner.
This recipe is from Gourmet - I followed it to the letter (for once).
Classic Turkey Stock
Turkey neck and giblets (excluding liver - that will make your stock bitter)
1 large onion, quartered
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
Greens from one leek (optional)
3 parsley sprigs
3 thyme sprigs
10 cups of water
1 Tbs vegetable oil (ok, I used olive oil. I lied about following it to the letter)
Heat the oil in a stock pot. Brown the turkey parts and the onion.
Here's the vegetables all nice and chopped.
I've never seen a stock recipe that had leeks in it. That's why I picked it. Anyways, add all the vegetables and the water and the herbs to the pot and simmer it for two hours. Skim the fat from the top every once in a while. See? The opposite of repetitive. You just put it in a pot and walk away. That's weirdly stressful for me.
It should reduce by about half. Strain it and use it for gravy!