My Irish Grandmother’s Turkey Gravy Recipe from Deborah Henry

My Irish Grandmother’s Turkey Gravy Recipe from Deborah Henry

The two women who become grandmothers to Adrian and Johanna Ellis in The Whipping Club have different tastes. Ben Ellis’s Jewish mother, Beva — or Bubbe as she is nicknamed — makes a chopped chicken liver to die for. Delish, Ben agrees, though his wife Marian’s mother, Ma McKeever would disagree.

One scene illustrates the point:

“‘Wait’ll you see these kids eat my chopped liver like they’ve never tasted anything before’, Bubbe said, leaving for the drawing room with a bowl of the pate surrounded with Jacob’s cream crackers.

Gran waved her hand in front of her nose, said the kosher stuff was stinking up all the other food in the fridge.”

However, the two women are more alike than different. Ma McKeever loves to concoct homemade recipes and makes a rich gravy to saturate your turkey plate. The mixed marriage of Jewish journalist Ben Ellis and Irish Catholic schoolteacher Marian McKeever in the 1960’s was, to say the very least, distasteful to their extended families. Neither of the two mothers-in-law wished for this or approved. Nobody came to the wedding.  Nonetheless, the interfaith marriage withstands the pressure and turns out to be a winning combination.

As we say in my home before digging in, Slainte and Mazel Tov!

Deborah Henry’s Website
Deborah Henry’s Recipe for Jewish Chopped Chicken Liver Paté

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Yield: 3 cups

An easy-to-make brown gravy for Thanksgiving and beyond


Turkey giblets (gizzards, heart, and liver) and neck
1 turkey, dressed
4 heaping tablespoons flour


  1. Boil two quarts of water in a large pot. Add the giblets and neck to the water and simmer for several hours.
  2. Roast the turkey in the oven according to directions.
  3. Remove pan from oven. Remove turkey from pan to large cutting board. Add flour to the pan, and whisk with the drippings.
  4. Remove giblets and neck from water, reserving the cooking liquid. Crumble the giblets (you should have 1-2 cups).
  5. Add crumbled giblets, salt and pepper to taste and enough cooking water to the gravy to reach desired consistency, and whisk together.


Use this gravy to top a day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich that meshes two worlds and melts in your mouth: On rye bread, spread homemade Jewish chopped chicken liver paté, three thin slices of turkey breast, smother with Irish gravy and voila! No need for cranberry sauce after that!

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