Onion Gravy

This is one versatile gravy that can be made a day ahead, no pan drippings needed!  It can be paired with pork, chicken, turkey, veal or even beef just by varying the base broth.  Making a gravy is not my favorite thing, especially trying to pull one together from pan drippings just as a holiday meal is about to be served.  Take the pressure off the big day and make a delicious onion gravy the night before!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sweet onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. gluten free corn starch
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of gluten free broth, warmed (I used 2/3 cup each of chicken, beef and vegetable broth)
  • 1 tbsp. brandy
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream (optional or use half and half, or milk)

 

Preparation:

Pulse the onions in an electric chopper to make the prep work fast and easy.  You should have 2 cups total, minced.

In a heavy skillet melt the butter, add the onions and season with salt and pepper.  Stir frequently and cook slowly over medium low heat until the onions begin to break down, about 20 minutes.

Have the corn starch, broth and a whisk ready for the next step.  Sprinkle the corn starch evenly over the onions and whisk whisk whisk for 1-2 minutes.  Don’t stop!

Stream in the warmed broth and continue whisking.  The gravy will thicken.

See how the onions have almost melted into the gravy?  If you don’t want the little bits of onion that remain you can strain the gravy or puree it with an immersion blender.  If you like a little texture definitely leave them in.

Transfer the gravy to a small sauce pan, then stir in the brandy and cream.  Cover and keep warm until serving.

This gravy was made with a combination of chicken, vegetable and beef broth (2/3 cup each) and has a pale cream/light brown color.  I’ll be serving it with a pork roast.  You can use all chicken, beef or vegetable broth, or a combination as I did here.  Experiment with each or make a blend to create the shade and flavor you prefer.

Notes ♪♫  If making a day ahead, cool the gravy to room temperature and refrigerate.  The day of the meal gradually reheat and thin with a little extra broth if needed.

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Peas and Pearl Onions

Everyone has their favorite veggie side dish for the holidays.  Maybe it’s a childhood memory or a newfound treat.  For Mr. Cucina, Peas and Pearl Onions are a holiday must have.  Fortunately for me, they are easily adapted to be gluten free so I can enjoy them too.  Arrowroot flour makes a smooth, creamy roux and I kicked up the traditional recipe with bacon!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 bag pearl onions, fresh or frozen (14 oz.)
  • 1 bag frozen peas (16 oz.)
  • 1 strip of bacon, cut into 1/4″ mince
  • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten free chicken broth, more as needed
  • 2 tbsp. half and half or heavy cream (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

Preparation:

First let’s talk about prepping pearl onions.  It’s not as daunting as you might think.  Simply trim the ends, boil for 2 minutes, then plunge into ice water.  The skins will slide right off!

Boil 

Ice bath

Remove skins

If you were lucky enough to find frozen pearl onions, thaw them on the counter for at least 30 minutes, along with the peas.  Frozen pearl onions have already been peeled and blanched, a real time saver!

Now let’s get started by melting 1 tbsp. butter in a large nonstick skillet and cook the minced bacon.

When the bacon starts to brown, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes over medium low heat.

Next add the peas and stir to heat through.  Season with salt and pepper.

Push the veggies to the sides of the pan to clear a space in the center.  Melt the remaining 1 tbsp. butter and whisk in the arrowroot flour to make a roux.  Keep whisking, just until the flour is completely incorporated and smooth.

Stream in the chicken broth as you continue whisking.  Start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cream or half and half if desired.

One of the things I love about this side is that you can prepare it a day ahead.  Mist an oven safe dish with cooking spray and spoon in the peas and onions.  When ready to serve, warm in the oven 30 minutes.

Notes: ♪♫ Wondering why I used such a large pan?  With all that extra surface area I was able to cook the vegetables and whisk in a roux, all in the same pan.  Fewer pans mean one happy dishwasher (that’s Mr. Cucina!) 🙂

 

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Garlic Butter

Foodie friends, with just a few simple ingredients you can make a wonderful garlicky spread that is as delicious on warm bread as it is for basting vegetables and potatoes.  It’s the perfect accompaniment for your holiday bread basket.  Try it and see how good it is!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. gluten free Garlic and Bell Pepper seasoning
  • pinch of crushed fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano

preparation:

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over lowest heat.  You want the oil to be warm, but not bubbling.  I used a simmer mat to keep the temperature under control.  Cook the garlic cloves for 1 hour uncovered, turning every 10 minutes.  The cloves will be soft and just slightly browned.

Remove the garlic, chop it then mash with a mortar and pestle.  You can also use a fork or the back of a spoon.  The oil left in the pan is delicious, be sure to reserve it for cooking!

Combine the garlic mash with the softened butter and remaining ingredients.  I am partial to McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper blend.  I also add a little crushed fennel seed and oregano.

Mix well to incorporate and let stand for several hours at room temperature, then place in a bowl or jar and refrigerate (or freeze) until ready to use.  You will want it to soften up before serving, so take it out 2 hours ahead.

Everyone around our table gave the garlic butter a thumbs up.  For more gluten free bread inspiration check out some of my favorites here.

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Gluten Free Roast Turkey Gravy

Will you be calm and composed on the day of your big holiday dinner?  Make ahead recipes are a great way to reduce stress and help you stay organized as you get that amazing meal on the table.  Start with a Gluten Free Roast Turkey Gravy that you can make ahead and freeze.  Forget skimming the pan drippings and fussing over a roux.  This is much easier and there will be no last-minute gravy fiasco.  You’re welcome.

The Lazy Gastronome

 

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Yield: 3 Cups of Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 2 turkey drumsticks, large thigh or wings
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp. corn starch
  • 32 oz. carton gluten free turkey stock or broth

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400º.  Heat the olive oil in an oven proof skillet.  Add the turkey, vegetables and thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, turning the turkey once.

Transfer to the oven and roast for 45 minutes.

Remove the turkey from the pan and reserve for another meal.  Sprinkle the vegetables with corn starch and whisk for 30 seconds.  Continue whisking as you drizzle in the turkey stock.  Be sure to get all of the browned bits up from the bottom of the pan, they are full of flavor!

Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes.  Taste and add more salt if needed.

Look how the color has developed, from pale to beautiful golden brown!

Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and discard the vegetables.  You should have about 3 cups.

After years of fumbling around with pan drippings I now prefer this make ahead recipe.  It is quite possibly the best turkey gravy I have ever made.  Mine is tucked away in the freezer now, and I will defrost it the night before Thanksgiving.  Just reheat to a low simmer before serving.

Notes ♪♫ This recipe was easily converted to gluten free by substituting corn starch for flour.  For the turkey stock, I like Kitchen Basics or Pacific Foods.

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