2010 Update –
The immersion blender is the modern GF cooks best friend! When your gluten free gravy lumps up, as it may, take out that immersion blender that someone gave you at the holidays, and follow the directions carefully. Following the directions, you can blend the gravy without splattering the whole kitchen!
If all you have in the cupboard is some mochiko (sweet rice) flour for thickening, take heart. Go ahead and follow an old favorite recipe for gravy, using equal parts of butter and mochiko. For example, you might melt 3 Tablespoons of butter and stir in 3 Tablespoons of mochiko. Then, you start adding your stock, stirring slowly. Suddenly, the whole thing goes lumpy and you fear disaster! No worries! Here’s where you transfer the mess to a deep bowl, use the immersion blender (magic occurs), then transfer the mixture back to the cooking pot and continue whisking in stock. Presto, the mixture is a nice smooth gravy. You can use the same trick when making macaroni and cheese, by the way.
—and now, the original article from 2005:
The annual holiday dilemma is – how do you make a gluten free gravy that is not reminiscent of glue, or perhaps paste?
There are several methods that work well, and Gf-Zing! has tested several options for the gluten free community.
First, let’s talk about the gourmet version. Here, you add a reduction or a ‘gastrique’ to the stock, and thicken the gravy with arrowroot. It is more of a sauce than a gravy, but will be delicious. You may want to increase the quantities to produce more gravy!
Degrease the pan juices from the roast bird. To the remaining juices, add 2 cups of hard cider (or 1/2 cup white wine) and reduce by heating – reduce it down to just 1/4 cup or a few tablespoons. Add 1 1/2 cups of stock, and reduce this mixture down by one third.
Mix 1 Tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch with a little stock and add it to this remaining sauce gradually, stirring constantly. Heat until thickened. Add salt and pepper as needed, and strain the sauce before serving. You may add currant jelly, as well, a few tablespoons, and a few tablespoons of fresh butter, to enrich the sauce.
You can make a similar sauce using a french ‘gastrique.” For this, you cook 1/4 cup of white sugar with 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar in a 2-quart saucepan until it caramelizes into a brown syrup – this will be thick, and you don’t want it to burn so watch carefully. Next, add 1 1/2 cups of rich stock and a little wine if you like, while being careful not to be burned by spattering syrup! The caramelized vinegar and sugar is the gastrique that will make your gravy taste really good. Thicken as before, adding a mixture of 1 Tablespoon arrowroot mixed with enough water to make a soupy mixture, and cook until thickened. Refresh this gravy with a little butter, and add some salt and pepper as needed.
For a more standard gravy, use a gravy flour mix as follows:
2 Tablespoons brown rice flour
3/4 Tablespoon sweet rice flour (mochiko)
1 1/2 teaspoons tapioca starch
1/3 teaspoon of xantham gum
Mix these ingredients together thoroughly, and then use it in place of flour in your regular gravy recipe. Give the gravy a zap with the immersion blender and you will have a typical gravy, maybe even better than a wheat-based gravy.
Make sure all your ingredients are gluten free!0