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Great Grandma Ninny’s Gravy Recipe

This tends to make a thinner yet deliciously flavorful gravy, which I prefer. And as Ninny was a no-frills, efficient woman, we never grew up straining it, but you certainly could if you felt it necessary.
Great Grandma Ninny’s Gravy Recipe


For basting:
1 half gallon of decent orange juice
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup of (not the cheapest) sweet vermouth

For finishing gravy:
giblets and organs
1/3 cup flour


1. In a medium sized saucepan, place all the turkey innards that come packaged tidily inside the turkey. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil, then down to a low simmer. This can sit simmering on your stove top for the entire time you roast the turkey.


2. Meanwhile in another medium sized saucepan, over high heat, reduce the half gallon of orange juice down to 2-3 cups. (this should take about 10-15 minutes at a steady boil). Once fully reduced, add the stick of butter and melt over low heat. Add the sweet vermouth and stir to incorporate.

3. Follow your normal turkey roasting regimen. (My route is to roast the stuffed turkey on a rack with 2 cups of giblet water in the pan—so drippings don't burn—at 450º F for 30 min, then down to 325º F for another 2.5 hours or until internal temp reads 165º F.)

4. After the first hour of roasting time, where you have solely basted with the giblet water beneath the turkey in the pan, start glazing the turkey with the OJ mixture. Baste a couple droppers full at a time, (or use a brush) covering the entire turkey and (stuffing if using). Cover the breast meat with foil if the glaze is darkening too quickly (this is just the sugars in the vermouth and OJ caramelizing, so don't be frightened, it's delicious). Continue to roast and baste every 30-45 minutes until the turkey is done.

5. While the turkey is resting on its carving board or platter, pour the drippings from the roasting pan through a strainer into a measuring cup and discard the crunchy bits, reserving the liquid. Skim the fat from the surface and save 1/3 cup on the side.

6. There will inevitably be some delicious bits stuck to the roasting pan so set the pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Add a cup and a half of giblet water into the pan and scrape up all the bits. Reduce this until the liquid is almost all gone.

7. Next, add the ½ cup fat and the 1/3 cup flour to the roasting pan—whisking together vigorously. Your intention here is to cook the raw flour by making a roux.

8. When it is a toasted brown color, slowly add the remainder of your hot giblet water and the delicious drippings, all the while whisking like mad. Lastly, incorporate any remainder of the OJ/vermouth glaze that may be leftover and heat thoroughly.

9. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy.