Allergen free gravy
i'm assisgned to make the gravy and potatoes for thanksgiving. I would like to be able to make the gravy ahead and freeze. I won't have any drippings. which wheat flour substitute would work best. i'm considering cornstarch or rice flour. I have heard cornstarch gravy does not remain thickened when reheated
Sister in law has used sweet rice flour and brown rice flour. I do not know if she freezes it, though.
Sweet white (superfine) rice flour is the way to go. I don't like cornstarch-based gravy - it never tastes right and the consistency is weird. Corn is a no-no for a lot of people with food allergies or sensitivities anyway, so best to avoid it.
If the gravy also needs to be dairy-free, use olive oil instead of butter for the roux, and if you're accustomed to adding a splash of milk or cream, try a bit of warm almond or rice milk instead.
Since you're not using pan drippings anyway, my absolute best advice is to play around with it and make a test batch (or a few of them!) in advance to see how the substitute ingredients behave.
Start with the same ratios you use for conventional gravy - equal parts fat & starch.
Whisk the oil (or melted butter) and rice flour together in a pan over medium or medium-high heat until you achieve a paste, and keep cooking/whisking until it darkens slightly (you're going for light or medium beige depending on your preference).
Slowly and steadily add your stock, whisking until the entire mixture begins to boil/bubble. That's essential - it won't thicken completely until it reaches a boil.
Once it reaches that stage, taste it & season as desired. Adjust the consistency if necessary by adding a splash of wine or additional stock to thin it out, or warmed almond milk to add creaminess & body.
I used a mix of corn starch and tapioca flour to make Thanksgiving gravy this year since those were the two gluten-free starches I had on hand, and I figured I'd try a bit of both just in case.
I froze a lot of the leftovers, and as I've been reheating the trays, I haven't noticed that the gravy is wildly too thin, but it's only small amounts on top of individual servings of turkey and stuffing, so it's a bit hard to judge.
chefj, how are those starches for holding, i.e., keeping the gravy warm/reheating gravy while everything else is resting/roasting/whatever? Do they tend to break less? Or maybe break is the wrong word...I am just leery of cornstarch, too, being relatively inexperienced with its use and especially in gravies. I have a Gravy Flavor reputation to uphold in my family, and am after any and all tips. I just made a pork gravy with Bob's Red Mill GF AP flour - hated the beany flavor at first, but it seemed to mellow on simmering, although I am still not certain that the flavor is what I want in turkey gravy. Are the arrowroot and tapioca flours sturdy enough to get a nice consistency through holding, and do they have neutral enough flavors? Such a noob, here.
Sorry for all the questions, but...I am learning as I go along. :-)
The good things about arrowroot:
- Neutral flavor
- Good thickening power
- Dissolves at lower temperatures
- Tolerates prolonged exposure to *low* heat
- Holds up to freezing and thawing
- Withstands acidic ingredients
- Becomes slimy/gooey when combined with dairy (don't use it in cream-based sauces)
- Breaks down easily at high temperatures
- Doesn't reheat well
Agree with chefj that tapioca starch is the most stable (it tolerates high heat, freezing and reheating), but I don't recommend it because it gives the gravy a noticeably slimy texture.
I always use cornstarch, and really like it. Four tablespoons of cornstarch whisked with a half-cup of water or white wine. Add it to the drippings when they're boiling (start with half and see if it's thick enough, then gradually add more as needed) and whisk until thickened.
It definitely remains thickened when reheated, but it's best if you can reheat it in a pan on the stove, rather than the microwave.
What do you intend to use for the base without drippings? It sounds like you'll need to roast some turkey thighs ahead of time in order to create drippings?