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Can I use cornstarch instead of flour for dredging?

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I have two gluten-free friends coming to a dinner party and I'm making Michael Ruhlman's braised lamb shanks with lemon confit. He calls for coating the shanks with flour before browning. Is cornstarch an acceptable substitute or should I just skip the dredging? I obviously don't want my friends to get ill.

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  1. Gluten is specific to wheat, so cornstarch shouldn't be a problem, provided that there has been no cross-contamination in the field, processing plant, etc.

    If you're worried, you could omit it: the starch is to assist with the browning and to thicken the braising liquid, but will have relatively minor effects in both cases. You shouldn't notice any difference if you take a little more time/care with the browning and reduce the braising liquid slightly more at the end (if necessary).

    1 Reply
    1. re: mugen

      Thanks, Mugen. I'll probably just skip that step.

    2. I use fine masa harina, does an excellent job and I like the flavor. And I do think it is a more digestible form of corn.

      1. cornstarch works just fine. in fact, i use it to dredge fried chicken pieces (tatsutaage-japanese fried chicken) i mix it with regular flour but i've done it with just cornstarch and it came out crunchy and good.

        1. I've used a combination of corn flour (not cornstarch) and rice flour for dredging. But, really, as long as the surface of the meat is nicely dry before browning, you could omit the dredging step. And thicken the sauce at the end, with cornstarch.