Turkey Gravy? and... How do I make soup?

Joined Nov 19, 2009
Two questions here...

My first is...how do you make Turkey gravy? It makes sense to me that if I just put a lot of the Turkey giblets, veggies and a lot of water at the bottom of the Turkey pan, that when the Turkey is done, I can just take all of that and blend it into a lovely gravy? Am I wrong here? This is my first Thanksgiving cooking on my own so please help.

Secondly, I was already thinking about the leftovers. You may find this crazy but I've never made chicken soup from scratch. I was thinking of using the Turkey bones to make a lovely Turkey soup but am clueless. I don't get it when people start to talk about stock verses broth and how with a stock you gotta do this and blah blah. So be gentle with me here, how would I use these Turkey bones (or any bones for that matter) to create an edible soup?

Joined Feb 1, 2007
In practical terms, the difference between stock and broth is that broth is made with the actual protein. Thus, if you start with a whole chicken, add veggies and other aromatics, you wind up with broth. Do the same thing just with bones and you get a stock.

So, point number one: Don't let the names of things intimidate you.

In either case, what you are doing is creating a flavored liquid that itself will be used as an ingredient in other dishes. Being as your end goal is soup, you want as rich a base as possible.

You'll need a large pot. And it's likely to be easier to chop the carcass in largish pieces than to work with it whole. If you were starting with raw bones, you would either roast or saute them at this point. With a cooked bird that doesn't matter. Put the turkey carcass along with other parts you might not be using (neck, wings, whatever) in the pot and cover with water by at least two inches. Bring the water up to boil. Meanwhile, toss in a large onion, quartered, a head of garlic, a couple of carrots cut in chunks, a rib or two of celery. Quantitites depend on the size of the carcass (and, thus, the amount of water). Add about a dozen whole peppercorns, maybe a sprig or two of rosemary.

Just before this boils, lower the heat. Cover. Cook at a slow simmer for about two hours, skimming off any scum that forms on the surface. Remove the big solids and strain the rest through a cheesecloth lined sieve.

The broth is likely to be too oily, particularly if there was much skin left on the bird. If so, easiest way of getting rid of it is to chill the broth overnight. The fat will harden on the surface, and can easily be removed with a spoon.

Now you're at a decision point. Do you need to concentrate the flavor? If so, return the broth to the heat and reduce it until you get the flavor you want.

Notice that we have not, as yet, added salt. That's because we don't want the saltiness to be concentrated. So, once you have the broth where you want it, then add salt to taste---keeping in mind that you'll probably be salting the final dish as well.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Yes. You're wrong.

You need to pour off the liquid in the pan, and reserve it. Chop the solids if there are any. Hint: Most people don't like liver in their gravy -- so reserve it for another purpose.

Defat the juices, reserving both the fat and the juices. Return some of the fat to the pan, and use it to make a roux. Return the juices along with some stock and/or milk or cream. When the roux has thickened the liquid, add more seasonings and liquid -- you may use some wine if you care to -- so the gravy is as thick or thin as you like.

It's very easy to make. Simmer the bones with some aromatics and skim the heck out of it while it produces scum. Don't boil it.

The words are often used interchangeably. The whole thing about "proteins" was wrong -- except in the sense that KY is entitled to use the terms however he likes. Poultry and fish stocks are almost always made with some "protein."

From the professional standpoint, a stock has very little seasoning -- especially salt; so it can be used for reductions without become overly salty. A "broth" can be an underseasoned stock, or it can be a thin soup -- seasoned and ready to eat. "Soup" is also a very vague term.

Don't let the different ways we use words confuse you. It's really not important. Also, as you read down you'll see my technique for making stock is a little different than KY's. Those differences aren't terribly important either.

Remove any meat from the carcass and reserve it. Break up the bones into small enough pieces so they'll fit in your kettle. Brown the bones in a hot oven for about ten or fifteen minutes. Even though the turkey was already cooked, browning the bones will bring out a lot of flavor, sweetness and color. A "roast stock" is preferable for almost all purposes, except where a light stock is desired as for saucing.

Meanwhile fill the kettle with the desired amount of water, and bring it to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer, and add the bones. Remember -- simmer, not boil. A good stock isn't so much cooked as brewed, just like a good cup of tea.

Once the bones start producing scum, skim the scum off the water two or three times until they stop making foam. Then, and only then, add the aromatics -- usually onion, celery and carrots. If you like you may saute them first before adding in order to bring out more of their flavor.

Simmer for about forty five minutes more, and taste. If you plan to use the stock as a soup -- pretty much as is -- you can under season it with salt and pepper now. On the other hand, if you want to use it as stock for making sauces -- don't salt it.

Continue simmering until the stock tastes good, and separate the stock you want to keep for other purposes, from the stock you'll use to make soup.

Season and add any other vegetables you like -- okra for instance, rice, orzo, noodles, what have you. Add the reserved meat to the soup, and you're good to go.

Hope this helps,
Joined Nov 19, 2009
Thanks....I had a question....if I wanted to just eat it as a soup at this point...would i just add water to it or eat it as is???
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Taste it first. Then depending on how it tastes you can concentrate it by reducing it further, dilute it by adding water or just adjust the seasonings and add some fresh vegetables to it.

Always, always, always -- no matter what anyone (including me) tells you -- let your taste be your guide.

Joined Nov 30, 2009
Here in Slovenia we make chicken soup from old hens. Not the fat ones but the relly old skinny ones. If you have turkey bones whit some meat on it that`s pretty good basic for the soup.
Joined Dec 1, 2009
Don't know much about soup but gravy is easy. Collect the greasy from the turkey after cooking. Strain it so that there are no lumps. Add some all purpose flour and milk and whisk it into gravy. Easy, cheezey
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