October 10, 2014

Hasty Gravy (Gluten-Free)

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Gravy thickened with cornstarch has the advantage of being gluten-free, but is more delicate and thins out faster than flour-based gravy. (See: Hasty Gravy). This recipe makes plenty of gravy that can be prepared in advance, so there’s no need to skimp. Need an all-purpose gravy guide? Hop on My Gravy Train.

4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken or beef stock, divided
4 to 6 tbsp (60 to 90 mL) cornstarch, to taste
1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, bacon fat, duck fat or schmaltz
1 tbsp (15 mL) gluten-free soy sauce or worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (15 mL) or more kosher salt
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground white pepper
Browning to taste

In medium measuring cup, stir together 1/2 cup (125 mL) stock and cornstarch until smooth. (Use 4 tbsp/60 mL cornstarch for thin gravy or 6 tbsp/90 mL for thick gravy.)

In large measuring cup, microwave 3-1/4 cups (800 mL) stock 2 minutes, or until steamy.

In medium pan, melt fat on medium heat. Give cornstarch mixture a big stir, then whisk it in carefully (mixture will sputter). While whisking, gradually add warm stock. Add soy sauce or worcestershire, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and pepper. When mixture comes to full boil, cook, stirring often with whisk, 1 minute, or until thick and glossy.

Remove from heat. Add some or all of remaining 1/4 cup (60 mL) stock to adjust thickness. Adjust salt. Add browning.

Makes 3-1/2 cups (825 mL).

  • This gravy tastes awesome when made with bacon fat.

Kitchen Secrets: To prevent lumps, the stock mixed with the cornstarch must be cold. Also, its important to add stock gradually. However, do not whisk cornstarch-based sauces vigorously or the starchy bonds will break down.

Bright Ideas: You can season the finished gravy or consider your stock options. For the latter, pre-simmer stock with 2 stalks thyme or parsley, 1 stalk rosemary or sage, or 1 large bay leaf, or infuse it with chopped onion or leftover mushroom stems. For the former, add tomato paste, barbecue sauce or Cajun spice blend; replace the soy sauce or worcestershire with a few dashes of liquid Maggi; stir in juices from the roasting pan. For the smoothest, richest, most decadent gravy, add heavy cream (35%) in place of some of the remaining 1/4 cup (60 mL) stock.

Oh No: Never cover the pan to keep your gravy warm. It will thin out if steam attacks it.

Make-Ahead: You can prepare this gravy a day in advance. Refrigerate it, and when the time comes, reheat in a small pan on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until bubbly. Note that cornstarch-based sauces start to become weepy and thin out the longer they sit. If the gravy is too thin, simmering it with a bit more cornstarch slurry.

B is for Browning: Sugar so darkly caramelized that it has lost its sweetness is sold as browning. It is used as a food colouring in everything from gravy to cake. Supermarkets sell browning.


Hasty Cider Gravy (Gluten-Free)
Use 3 cups (750 mL) chicken stock and 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened hard cider. Use 6 tbsp (90 mL) cornstarch. Cider accents are excellent with turkey, pork or game

Hasty Curry Gravy (Gluten-Free)
Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) curry powder and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) garam masala along with the salt.

Hasty Herb Gravy (Gluten-Free)
Stir 1/4 cup (60 mL) mixed chopped fresh herbs into finished gravy.

Hasty Red Wine Gravy (Gluten-Free)
Start with butter or duck fat. Use 3-1/2 cups (8925 mL) beef stock and 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry red wine. Use 6 tbsp (90 mL) cornstarch.

Hasty Wine & Bacon Gravy (Gluten-Free)
Start with bacon fat. Use 3-1/2 cups (825 mL) stock and 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry red (with beef stock) or white wine (with chicken stock). Use 6 tbsp (90 mL) cornstarch. Before serving, stir in 1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled, crisp, cooked bacon, then adjust salt.