Gravy means different things to different people--it depends on where you call home. For "New Yawkers," particularly ones with Italian ancestry, "gravy" is a tomato ragú typically made of beef and pork, that almost universally includes meatballs and sausage. It's traditionally shared on Sundays, where family and friends come and go at will, serve themselves up some gravy, and show respect to the cook. Under slow, even heat, chicken thighs break down similarly to pork shoulder, so texturally, this version of Italian-American Sunday Gravy is right on the money.
2 (1 1/2-ounce) slices whole-wheat bread, diced
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped and divided
2 tablespoons milk
1 pound ground turkey
3/4 cup finely chopped onion, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon grated pecorino Romano
1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 (2-ounce) links Italian chicken sausage
4 chicken necks
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
24 fresh basil leaves
How to Make It
It's Louis Prima time. Your favorite internet music source has it. This is a must.
Moisten the bread and 4 garlic cloves with the milk in a large bowl.
Add the ground turkey, 1/4 cup of onion, the parsley, both cheeses, and the egg whites to the bread mixture. Don't mix yet.
Combine well, without mushing it. The meat is already ground, and it's turkey, a more pasty product than beef or pork. Make 16 small, 1-inch meatballs.
Refrigerate in a single layer, uncovered, while you brown the other meats.
BROWN THE CHICKEN, SAUSAGE, AND MEATBALLS
Heat a Dutch oven on the stovetop on moderate heat. Let the gravy begin.
Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the chicken thighs and cook 3 minutes per side, until brown. Set aside on a platter.
Add the chicken sausage and necks and cook 5 minutes, browning them on all sides. Cook the sausages to about 155°. Remember, this will be simmered again, so slightly undercooked is okay. Set aside on a platter.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to the Dutch oven.
Now, add half the meatballs and cook 5 minutes, browning them on two sides. Don't roll them about; simply turn once. They'll cook through in the gravy.
Remove them to the platter, and repeat with the remaining meatballs.
MAKE A SAUCE -- IT'LL BRING THE GRAVY TOGETHER
Add 4 cloves of garlic and 1/2 cup of onion to the pot. Stir 2 minutes, until they're slightly browned and translucent.
Now, add the tomatoes to the Dutch oven, juice and all, and the tomato paste and oregano. Bring to a boil. Scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
Gently add all of the chicken, the meatballs, the sausage, and the salt. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for an hour and a half or more, until the chicken thighs pull apart with a pair of tongs.
FINISH AND SERVE
Remove the meat to a platter. Cut the sausages into 1-inch pieces on the bias. Cut the necks in half.
Add the basil to the gravy. Stir.
To serve, arrange the chicken thighs, sausage, necks, and meatballs on a platter. Spoon just enough tomato over to enrobe, but not drench. This is Gravy.
Cooking Light Mad Delicious
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