Here's How Jacques Pépin Makes Holiday Gravy

If you like food and cooking even a little bit, chances are you're familiar with Jacques Pépin, the OG French chef who made a name for himself at the tender age of 17, when the now-famous food celebrity began working in restaurants in Paris (via Biography). By the age of 24, the chef had crossed the pond, landing in New York City to get his footing in American restaurants. The rest, as they say, is history, with Pépin going on to work in various restaurants and culinary schools, and teaming up with another iconic French chef: American PBS cooking show star Julia Child, with whom Pépin went on to develop a lasting professional friendship.

Throughout his many decades of writing cookbooks and hosting television shows, Pépin's lighthearted, approachable take on French recipes has endeared him to many a home cook. Iconic dishes such as chicken in cream sauce and fingerling potatoes with butter have made their way into many cooks' repertoires (via First We Feast) — as have some of Pépin's indispensable kitchen tricks and hacks, such as how to peel apples with a knife and a quick and easy way to thicken soup. So when the chef shared how he makes his holiday gravy, we were all ears.

Jacques Pépin's secret is in the giblets

Like any good French chef, iconic food personality Jacques Pépin is a proponent of nose-to-tail dining, consistently popularizing the consumption of organ meats such as beef tripe and chicken livers (via First We Feast). So when we learned that the secret to Pépin's holiday gravy is the inclusion of the turkey's giblets, we weren't surprised. As reported by Fine Dining Lovers, the chef removes the giblets, simmers them in water for an hour and a half, and adds in soy sauce, chopped onion, and chopped carrot. He thickens the mixture with potato starch, adds a dash of white wine, and then pours the gravy into the bottom of the turkey roasting pan, using the liquid to deglaze the pan of all the turkey's drippings.

And voila! There's Pépin's offal-loaded turkey gravy. So when you find that little package of giblets inside your bird over the holidays, don't toss it: Do as Pépin does and use it pack your gravy with rich umami flavor.