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Tips for the Best Turkey Gravy Ever... Chile It UP!

By Jane Butel  November 26, 2019

Want to have the very best Turkey Gravy?   Chile it up.  Seriously, to the drippings in the bottom of the roaster pan, add a light layer of flour and cook and stir the flour and drippings together for 2 o 3 minutes or until the flour starts to turn a bit tan.  Then add a Tablespoon or more of our ground pure red chile powder and stir it  very well...immediately adding the liquid you cooked the giblets in with the giblets finely chopped in it.  Stir continuously with a wisk until the gravy is smooth and the texture you like.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

You can add the red or green chile powder to the corn custard if you are making it.  Also, a bit of chile powder added to the Hollandaise or Bearnaise sauce you might be serving over asparagus or broccoli really pep it up.

Chipotle chile powder is a great addition to the Cranberry Sauce--giving it just a bit of smokey, spicy allure.  You can add chipotle also to mashed sweet potatoes.

And chiles can help spark desserts from Pumpkin Pie to Chocolate cake!

There are still just a few spaces left in our ever popular Holidays in New Mexico class which even features Perfect Margaritas.  The class is Thursday evening, December 12 at 5 PM and is taught in my Corrales Kitchen.

Don't forget our wonderful Gift Boxes which we will drop ship to each address you want gifted   And our Gift certificates which we will make out to the person(s) you wish.  Just call us at 505-243-2622 or email us at info@janebutelcooking.

 Thanksgiving has always been a very special holiday because of the true meaning and spirit of thankfulness for the blessings and gifts we have.Thanksgiving is also all about the food—usually turkey and all the trimmings.  There are so many ways to roast and or cook turkeys—from my favorite English slow roasting to deep frying and many other theories in between.  Whether you are a traditionalist or like trying new recipes and methods, I wanted to share some little known tips that help create juicy, tender, flavorful turkey.      

Turkey facts I find most people are unaware of are— 

Never salt the skin, instead 2 days before roasting, rub 1 Tablespoon salt into the body and thoracic or neck cavity for every 7 pounds the turkey weighs.  Salting the skin dries out the skin and causes cracks, and the skin then looses it’s juice, making for dry, tough meat.  I think this method is much better than brining which does salt the skin, thus drying it out and making the turkey skin drier and tougher and the  meat less juicy than this system.)

To assure brown, beautiful skin, either melt or render the turkey fat from inside the cavity by heating on a medium heat until it melts.  Or, melt unsalted butter.  Brush the skin with either and then sprinkle minced herbs such as thyme or sage over the fat and pat in if necessary to make the herbs stick.

And, start the turkey roasting at a high temperature  of 425 F to further insure a bronzed skin.  Roast for a minimum of 15 minutes for a 15 pound turkey or smaller and add another 5 minutes for turkeys weighing more.  Then reduce the heat and roast as you wish.

Simmer the giblets on Monday or Tuesday night before Thanksgiving in chicken stock until very tender and then chop, ready for adding to the gravy on T-day, saving the last minute work.

I am giving you the instructions below for the English Roasting Method for turkey.  You must have at least a 20 pound turkey to roast it over night.  


I have a definite preference for the English roasting method which I studied years ago and have never changed.  It always yields a very juicy, bronze breasted bird and all I have served always rave about its goodness.  However many get very nervous about the concept.  Following are my favorite  turkey tips, which really help to get the best roast turkey! 

First, make sure the turkey is completely thawed by Tuesday evening. 

Step I.  Thoroughly clean the bird inside and out, pulling off the large fat globs just inside the back and front cavities.  Place the fat in a heavy saucepan or skillet and melt the fat, discarding the solid portions.  While the fat is melting, rub one Tablespoon of salt into the cavity for every seven pounds the bird weighs. Set the turkey aside.  Reserve the rendered fat for Wednesday evening.  Using this rendered fat prevents any potential problem with using any oil or fat with salt and it clings well to the skin—better than oil for a beautiful bronzed browning. 

Step II.  Wednesday evening.  Prepare your favorite stuffing.  Mine is cornbread with crumbled sausage, chopped green chiles and a few toasted pinon nuts.    If fresh herbs such as sage, thyme, oregano or rosemary are available, mince about two Tablespoons for a large bird, less for a smaller bird.  Then rub the melted rendered turkey fat over the bird and sprinkle with the herbs.  Just before your bedtime, preheat the oven to 425F and roast the turkey for 25 minutes if under 15 pounds.  Roast for five minutes longer at 425 for each additional five pounds the turkey weighs, for example if it weighs 20 pounds you would roast for 30 minutes.  At the end of the high temperature roasting period, splash on ½ cup dry sherry or a dry cherry liquer.  Then reduce oven temperature to 200 F and go to bed. 

I KNOW MANY PEOPLE GET VERY NERVOUS ABOUT THE OVERNIGHT LOW TEMPERATURE ROASTING, HOWEVER IT DOES YIELD A GREAT BIRD.  I have been roasting every turkey I have done since the mid sixties this way. 

Step III.  Every thirty minutes on Thanksgiving day, I continue to baste the turkey.  About 30 minutes before serving, I remove from the oven and make the gravy. 

If you do try this method I know you will enjoy it.  Prepare the turkey gravy with a Tablespoon or more of Pecos Valley Spice Co.mild or hot  red chile powder  stirred into the broth before making the gravy. 



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