Thanksgiving Porcini Mushroom Gravy

When my now-teenager son was in second grade his teacher asked students to name their favorite food. Most said macaroni and cheese, or potatoes, but my boy raised his hand and shouted “porcini mushroom gravy!” It is still one of his favorite components of our Thanksgiving meal. This is a winning recipe, adapted from one found in Fine Cooking magazine. If you can, begin with a homemade turkey stock (it makes the gravy exceptionally flavorful), but if you cannot manage the time for homemade stock you can use good chicken broth with nice results. The general proportions for gravy are 2 Tbsp. fat and 2 Tbsp. flour to 1 cup of liquid. Sometimes I adjust those proportions slightly, depending on the brand of flour; it is not an exact science. I prefer to use imported Italian porcini mushrooms, and always make the gravy fresh during the interval when the turkey is resting before being carved. Happy Thanksgiving!

Porcini Mushroom Gravy
1/2 c. dried porcini mushrooms
1-1/2 c. boiling water
3/4-1 c. turkey drippings
3/4-1 c. flour or as needed
4 c. hot turkey or chicken stock
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Fifteen minutes before the turkey comes out of the oven begin the gravy by placing the porcini mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with 1 1/2 c. boiling water. Let the mushrooms sit 15 minutes to rehydrate. Strain mushrooms, saving the strained liquid. This will help flavor the gravy. Chop the porcini mushrooms and set aside. In the roasting pan begin heating the turkey drippings on medium high heat. While the drippings are coming to a boil combine the flour with 1 cup of the turkey or chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Once the drippings are boiling slowly whisk in the flour mixture and stir until smooth. As it cooks it should begin to turn a medium caramel color. Slowly add 3 c. hot stock and 1 cup of the saved porcini soaking liquid. Stir until it starts to thicken; if it seems too thick, add any remaining porcini liquid. Add chopped porcini mushrooms, thyme sprigs, and lemon juice. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Remove the fresh thyme leaves, then pour into a gravy boat and serve. Makes 6-7 cups porcini mushroom gravy.

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