Q.: I have read articles written every year on the preparation of turkeys but have not read any directions on how to prepare the giblets. Can you provide some help regarding this subject?
— E.R. Paul, Akron
A.: The giblets are the edible innards of the turkey, and commonly include the heart, liver and gizzard (part of the digestive system). While the neck is not technically part of the giblets, most cooks typically include it when referring to “the giblets.” All of these parts come inside the bird in a paper or plastic bag and it’s important to remove them before roasting the bird.
For the most part, giblets are used to create a broth for making gravy. The neck, heart, gizzards and liver are cooked in water with celery, onion, salt, pepper and other herbs such as parsley, thyme and sage.
Place the giblets in a sauce pan, add vegetables, seasoning and herbs, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour. Strain the broth.
This broth is then combined with the turkey drippings and a thickener such as a roux (flour and butter) or a slurry (flour and water) and often some white wine, to create turkey gravy.
Some cooks leave out the liver, finding it to be bitter.
Once the broth is made, you can dice the giblets (again without the liver) and some of the dark meat picked off the neck bone, and stir them into the gravy for the traditional Thanksgiving sauce: giblet gravy.
However, many folks don’t like bits and lumps in their gravy and discard the giblets after boiling them for the broth. Some cooks dice up the cooked giblets and add them to the stuffing.
Got a food question? Lisa Abraham has the answer. Call 330-996-3737; email her at email@example.com with “Ask Lisa” in the subject line; or write to her at 44 E. Exchange St., P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640. Please include your name (initials will be printed on request), hometown and phone number.