Finally, an unintimidating recipe for turkey gravy and it’s gluten-free too!
GRAVY IS ESSENTIAL
There are lots of dishes you can do without on Thanksgiving. I can do without the marshmallow topped sweet potatoes and the mushy green bean casserole made with a can of soup, but there’s one thing most people would agree that you definitely cannot do without on Thanksgiving (aside from Turkey of course) and that’s gravy. Roast turkey is somewhat bland even when it’s cooked to perfection (see my tip at the end of this post for perfectly cooked turkey meat) and thus needs to be topped with gravy to achieve its full glory. So, when you’re the cook, the pressure is on because even if your turkey and all the Thanksgiving sides are perfect, a lackluster gravy will detract from the entire meal. Most gravy recipes are needlessly overcomplicated, which increases the likelihood you’ll mess it up, but this recipe for Easy Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy is pretty much foolproof. It can be made with any amount of turkey drippings – even drippings from a small turkey breast or chicken will produce excellent gravy. You can even make this gravy without turkey drippings and can vary the richness by using either milk, half and half, or heavy cream.
CORNSTARCH VS. FLOUR IN TURKEY GRAVY
The year that my oldest daughter gave up gluten containing foods I made two types of gravy at Thanksgiving – traditional gravy made with flour, and gluten-free gravy made with cornstarch. Much to my surprise, the gluten-free gravy was every bit as silky, smooth, and delicious as the traditional gravy, and nobody could taste much of a difference between the two. Ever since then, Easy Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy has been the one and only gravy recipe I use when I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Flour is still the most popular thickener used to make turkey gravy, but cornstarch as a thickener has a couple advantages over flour other than the fact that it’s gluten-free:
• First, you need much less cornstarch to thicken gravy than flour because cornstarch has twice the thickening power.
• Second, cornstarch has a more neutral taste than flour which allows more savory, robust turkey flavor to shine through.
Note that although cornstarch is made entirely from corn (a gluten-free grain), it can be cross contaminated with wheat if it’s processed on shared equipment. If you’re allergic or sensitive to small amounts of gluten, be sure to use only certified gluten-free cornstarch.
TO SKIM OR NOT TO SKIM
If you roast a large turkey (or chicken) and use the pan dripping to make Easy Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy, you’ll probably want to skim off some of the fat as larger birds will render more fat. If, however, you use drippings from a roasted turkey breast or small chicken, there’ll be much less fat rendered and you may not need to skim off any at all. In fact, it’s o.k. to incorporate a small amount of fat into the gravy as it’ll give it nice flavor. When you do need to skim off some fat, don’t worry – it’s easy. Before thickening, simply let the gravy mixture sit for a few minutes until most of the fat rises to the top. Then simply spoon the fat off the top. Many people like to use a tool like this – known as a grease separator – but I never go this route because I don’t own one and it would be one more thing to wash!
PERFECTLY COOKED TURKEY
Delicious gravy calls for perfectly cooked turkey, but to get properly cooked dark meat without drying out the breast meat can be tricky because the breast and dark meat cook at different rates, leaving little margin for error. The only way to combat this is to use an instant read thermometer. I own a thermapen, which is an expensive meat thermometer used by a lot of professional chefs, but there are less expensive options that work just as well, like this one.
TEST THE TURKEY FOR DONENESS IN DIFFERENT SPOTS
Once you suspect your turkey is done, test it with the instant read thermometer in at least 3 different spots. The temperature should be anywhere from 150 degrees F to 165 degrees F or higher depending on the part of the bird. Click HERE to see exactly how it’s done. I share this video every year right before Thanksgiving because it is simply the best demonstration of how to test a turkey for doneness using an instant read thermometer.
Here are some other ideas for Thanksgiving: Make Ahead Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, 1 Easy Cranberry Sauce, Best Ever Gluten-Free Stuffing, Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Pecans, and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Crispy Prosciutto
If you make Easy Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me over on Instagram @QueenofMyKitchen. I’d love to see your creation!
Easy Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy
- Roasted turkey drippings (see notes #1)
- 1½ -2 cups turkey stock (see notes #2)
- 1/2 cup milk, half and half, or heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free cornstarch
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the cornstarch with the milk in a jar. Screw on the lid and shake well. Set aside.
- Deglaze the turkey pan with the stock.
- Pour the deglazed mixture through a fine mesh strainer and into to a saucepan over medium heat. If there’s a lot of fat, skim some, or all of it, off. Re-shake the cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until thickened to the desired consistency.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Any amount of pan drippings will work in this recipe including drippings from a roasted turkey breast or small chicken.
- I like the Kitchen Basics brand of turkey stock which is available at most mainstream grocery stores.
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