For more than 15 years, I’ve been the gravy-stirrer at my family Thanksgiving. I dutifully scraped the brown bits off the bottom of the roasting pan, sprinkled in just enough flour to “soak up” the fat, whisked in water (and occasionally potato water from the mashed potatoes), adjusted the seasonings, and stirred and stirred and stirred.
When I went gluten-free about a year and a half ago, I knew I was going to miss gravy. Of course you can experiment with alternate thickeners: corn starch, arrowroot, tapioca. But those types of thickeners tend to make a particular type of sauce; much more like a Chinese-style sweet-and-sour sauce than a flour roux-thickened gravy or white sauce.
Then I found this recipe, which uses the vegetables cooked in the bottom of the slow cooker to thicken the gravy. It emulates the texture of a traditional gravy, and adds even more flavor with the roasted onions and garlic. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, and this is my favorite version.
Adaptations for slow cooker and pressure cooker are at the end of the recipe after the jump.
Preheat the oven to 250 F.
The gravy is thickened with 1 extra large
oven onion (or equivalent), 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp. of tomato paste, and 1 tsp. of coconut oil (or other cooking oil of your choice).
Chop the onion into fairly large chunks, like so:
Smash the garlic clove and peel it.
Put the chopped onions, smashed garlic clove, coconut oil, tomato paste, salt and pepper in a large dutch oven (off heat).
Stir the vegetables until the tomato coats everything evenly. The coconut oil helps with this, but it still takes a good minute to get everything combined.
Take a whole chicken, and put it breast-up on top of the vegetables. Season as desired–I just used salt and pepper here.
Flip the chicken over, and season the back side. The chicken will cook breast-down
Put the lid on the pot and slide it in the oven.
Cook for two and a half hours. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover it with foil.
Return the pot to the stovetop, and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the vegetables boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly.
Blend the mixture. I use an immersion blender and the cup the that came with the blender.
If the gravy is too thick, you can add some of the juices that gathered under the chicken while it was resting.
Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Feel free to play around with the vegetables to your preferences. The recipe I started with called for several cloves of garlic, but I found the sweet, roasted-garlic flavor to be overwhelming. I like the gravy with all onion, and next time I’m going to try to add a couple of leeks in as well!
Keeps in the fridge covered for a week.
click through for written recipe, plus slow-cooker and pressure-cooker variations
Slow Roasted Chicken with Vegetable-Thickened Gravy
yield: 2 cups of gravy
1 4-6 lb. chicken
1 extra-large onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. refined coconut oil (or other cooking oil)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 250 F
Roughly chop the onion. Smash and peel the garlic clove. Put the onions and garlic into a large dutch oven or other oven-proof container with a tight-fitting lid.
Add tomato paste and coconut oil to the dutch oven. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Stir until the tomato paste evenly covers the vegetables.
Put the chicken breast-side up on top of the vegetables in the dutch oven. Season the breast side of the chicken. Flip the chicken over and season the back side.
Put the lid on the dutch oven and put into preheated 250 F oven.
Bake for two and a half hours.
Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with tin foil. Put the dutch oven on the stovetop and turn the burner to medium. Simmer the vegetables for fifteen minutes, until slightly thickened.
Blend the vegetables and liquid into gravy. If it’s too thick, add some of the juices that collected under the resting chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If it tastes a little too sweet, add more salt a little at a time to shift the balance from sweet to salty.
Keeps in the refrigerator in a sealed container for one week.
No changes to the ingredients.
Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker instead of a dutch oven. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
You likely will not need to reduce the mixture before blending.
If necessary, transfer the liquid and vegetables to a wide-mouth pan, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, then blend as per the recipe above.
Additional ingredient: 1/2 cup of water
Place vegetable mixture in the bottom of a pressure cooker. Pour in 1/2 cup water. If applicable, place the steamer basket on top of the vegetables, and put chicken in steamer basket. If you don’t have a steamer basket, simply place chicken on top of the vegetables, breast-side down.
Bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure over high heat, reduce to medium (be sure the pressure is maintained). Cook for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
Remove the chicken and let rest while reducing the liquid in the pressure cooker, per instructions above. Continue following the recipe above to blend and season the gravy.