A few weeks ago, I participated in holiday hotline twitter chat and was surprised to hear how many people were puzzling over what to serve all the gluten-free problem children at their family table—particularly, what to do for the gravy.
My mother has made our annual apple cider gravy using gluten-free flour for as long as I can remember. The recipe is from the Chuck Williams' Thanksgiving Cookbook, and with a heaping amount of minced shallots and chopped rosemary, it adds a perfect ratio of sweet and savory to our flavorless table centerpiece: that damn turkey.
Since the holidays seem to be another case of culinary Ground Hog Day, every year my mom makes this gravy on Thanksgiving afternoon she has a least one meltdown about it being too sweet. We taste it together, thought bubbles emerge, and eventually we decide a splash of cider vinegar will do the trick before the pan juices get involved later in the day.
Most people don't think of gravy as one of the better make-ahead items on the Thanksgiving menu, but we've done it in advance ever since turkey duty was delegated to my uncle and cousins. Right before dinner, we incorporate the drippings, and surprise surprise, that usually is the secret ingredient that we both felt was missing all along.
That said, if you don't know what you're missing, this gluten-free gravy recipe would also be a great option for your vegan homies. When I retested it last weekend for my Friendsgiving dinner, I used olive oil instead of butter and vegetable stock as the base. Eventually, I added in some drippings from the faux-tisserie chicken I served, but not before verifying that it would still be delicious without it.
As for the main gluten-free element—the flour—you can use a variety of options. Our go-to is either white rice flour or AP gluten-free flour. I tried out Bob's Red Mill Paleo flour for the first time and it worked well. You might want to add an extra tablespoon or two if you like a very thick gravy, but I didn't mind a more silky texture.
Gluten-free gravy is a must on my family table and this recipe with apple cider, shallots and rosemary will put your old version to shame. You can use AP gluten-free flour, white rice flour or even paleo flour as the thickener. If you're serving any vegetarians or vegans, this can also be made with vegetable stock. I usually make it a day in advance and then if adding any turkey drippings reheat on the stove and simmer until thickened again.
3 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
2 large shallots, minced shallots (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour or white rice flour
1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup pan juices from roast turkey (optional)
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter or oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, rosemary and garlic and sauté until the shallots are beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the flour to the pan and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.
Gradually add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, whisking vigorously before adding more. Once all of the liquid is incorporated, bring the mixture to a boil. Add in the cider and continue to simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 20 to 30 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
Before serving (or when the turkey is finished roasting), add the pan drippings, if using, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened again, about 10 minutes.
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