Gravy is the crowning glory to the mashed potatoes and stuffing on your holiday dinner menu. You make a wonderful gravy, but now have to avoid what you usually use to thicken it.
Problem: Your gravy recipe uses flour and butter, but you need your dish to be wheat- and milk-free.
Solution: Use an alternate thickener to make gravy from your pan drippings!
Many gravy recipes call for thickening with a "roux" of butter and flour. There are alternatives if you have to avoid milk and wheat.
Gravy Thickened With Starch
You can also thicken gravy using a starch slurry. Starches, such as cornstarch or potato starch, must be mixed with a small amount of cold water to make a slurry. Strain drippings into a saucepan. Add more stock if needed. Bring to a simmer. For each cup of liquid, mix starch with a small amount of water. When the drippings are simmering, slowly whisk in the starch slurry. Continue to simmer until the gravy is thickened. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Equivalent thickening per 1 cup of liquid:
- 1T all purpose flour
- 1T cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp potato starch
Adjust the ratio of thickener to liquid based on how thick you prefer your gravy.
Cornstarch and potato starch are the best options for gravy. Avoid arrowroot and tapioca starches because they can get "stringy" and look artificial in gravy.
Cornstarch gravy is more translucent than flour based sauces. Potato starch gravy is more opaque than cornstarch, but less opaque than flour.
Starch sauces require less simmering than flour based sauces. Do not boil. Don't overcook cornstarch based sauces or your gravy will lose some of its thickness.
Starch based sauces do not freeze well.
Gravy Thickened With Roux
Make your roux using an equal amount of vegetable oil or milk-free margarine in place of butter. Heat the oil or melt the margarine, then add your flour. Whisk until bubbly to remove the "raw" taste of the flour. Add your liquid as usual. Bring to a simmer, while whisking, until your gravy is thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Use a gluten-free flour mix or single alternative flour. Sweet rice flour, sorghum flour and garbanzo flour are great single flour options. Sweet rice flour can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store and makes a very smooth sauce. Garbanzo flour, also known as besan, chana or chickpea flour, can be made by lightly toasting dried garbanzo beans then grinding them in a blender. Use the same ratio of 1 Tbsp "flour" to 1 Tbsp "fat" to thicken 1 cup of liquid.
Fixing Lumpy Gravy
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you wind up with lumps! This is easily fixed by pouring your gravy through a fine sieve.
Need mashed potatoes to pour that delicious gravy over? Learn how to make creamy mashed potatoes without milk or soy! Check out KFA's Safe Eats™ recipe collection of more than 1,500 allergy-friendly recipes to help you plan your menu!