If you’ve bought a bird for roasting today, there’s a good chance it’s come with a little plastic packet of ‘bits’. Whatever you do, don’t throw them away!
These bits are the giblets – the offal – usually the neck (in one or two pieces), the heart, the liver, and the gizzard. The gizzard is thick, muscular structure with two hard abrasive grinding plates that the bird uses to crush up corn and other food items to make them digestible. Giblet stock is quick, simple, and makes the most wonderful Christmas gravy.
I have a goose this year, but the following applies just as well if you have a chicken or turkey. Personally, I use the goose heart and liver in one of my stuffings, so only the neck and gizzard are available for the stock.
In addition to the giblets, you need the following:
- Stock vegetables. I use one onion (red or white) and a couple of carrots, I don’t like celery so I don’t use it, even though it’s the often-quoted third member of the stock vegetable trinity.
- A bouquet garni. This is just a posh culinary term for some herbs. I use some bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and sage, along with some whole pepercorns and a few juniper berries. Dried is fine.
- Water. Glug of white wine (optional).
- A splash of olive oil.
Prepare your gizzard by cutting away and discarding the hard plates (use a small sharp knife inserted below and parallel to the plates) and chopping the rest of the meat roughly
Put the splash of olive oil into a nice big saucepan, and brown the neck and gizzard meat, and then add the roughly chopped onion and carrots and sautee for a couple of minutes. Now add about a litre of water (and the splash of white wine if you want) and the bouquet garni, bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour. Strain, discard the solids, and return the stock to the pot and boil again until reduced in volume by half. That’s it. Set aside in the refrigerator until you make your gravy later. You won’t regret it!