Friday, November 16, 2012

Gluten Free Thanksgiving with a hint of Paleo

Our family is gluten free. We are also sugar light due to two family members being diabetic. I decided a year ago to add a bit of the Paleo diet to my meal planning since the craving for sweets, like the Force, is strong with this family.  I live with a Wisconsin Cheese Head so eliminating cheese and dairy would have caused a massive Rebel Alliance level rebellion.

We have been gluten free for several years because of Celiac Spru disease. Over the years we have suffered through gnarly and nasty tasting "gluten free" versions of stuffing and other alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. I empathize with anyone starting this path and are stressing this holiday season.

Let me share with you our Thanksgiving Day meal.

Moist and Delicious Roasted Turkey

1 fresh turkey, 18 to 20 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed  ( To make sure it is Gluten Free make sure you purchase a turkey that is not the Butterball brand. Fresher the better)
1/2 cup Clarified Butter, softened
5T. Coarse Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt
3T. Black Pepper
3T. Coarsely Chopped Fresh Herbs (I use parsley, sage, and thyme)
3-4 Medium Yellow Onions, quartered
2 Garlic Bulbs, chopped
1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Chicken Stock ( I use Pacific because it is low sodium and Gluten Free. Swanson's Chicken broth is not Gluten Free)

You'll also need: 
Kitchen Twine
Roasting Pan that is 2 inches wider then your bird.
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450F.
  2. In a smal bowl, mix together clarified butter, 2T. salt, 1T. pepper, and herbs. Set aside. In a medium bowl, toss together onions, garlic, olive oil, 2T. salt, and 1T. pepper. Set aside.
  3. Use your hand to gently loosen the skin from the turkey breast, so that you can smear the meat with butter mixture. Rub half of the mixture under the skin and the remaining half on the skin of the turkey. Season turkey with 1T. salt and 1T. pepper. Stuff the bird with onion and garlic mixture and tie the legs (a little bow will do), so that the mixture stays inside. 
  4. Tuck the wings behind the back and place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. 
  5. Roast the turkey for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325F. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 155F, about 3 hours more. If the skin begins to brown too quickly, tent the turkey with aluminum foil. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, baste the turkey with the pan dripping every 10 minutes. 
  6. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30-45 minutes before carving. Skim the fat off the pan drippings. Add 1 cup of chicken stock to the roasting pan and set over medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes, until reduced and slightly thickened (there is no flour in this gravy, so it won't be thick, but it will be flavorful and delicious!). Transfer to a bowl or gravy boat for serving. 

Gluten Free Gravy
Making Gluten Free Gravy is simple. 
Use the pan drippings and chicken stock from your turkey above. Gently use rice flour or cornstarch to make a roue and use this roue to thicken the drippings. I have used tapioca flour in the past but it leaves a unnatural shine in the gravy. Rice flour enhances the flavor of the gravy, but you will use less flour then wheat flour.

Gluten Free Stuffing!

You can imagine our delight and joy when we discovered Udi Bread's Thanksgiving Day Stuffing. It does taste, "Just Like Mom's"  This is not Paleo dish. 


1 loaf of Udi’s Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread
1 loaf of Udi’s White Sandwich Gluten Free Bread
1/4 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons of fresh sage
1 cup of unsalted butter or margarine
2 onions (or 1 large onion)
1/2 cup of chopped fennel
1/2 cup of chopped celery
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream


Lightly butter each side of Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain & White Sandwich breads. Broil Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain & White Sandwich Bread till slightly brown/toasted. Allow bread to cool completely on a wire rack. Put bread in a Ziploc bag and slightly break toasted bread into bread crumbs (or cut into pieces). Place in bowl with parsley, sage, salt and pepper. Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat; add onions and saute until onions are softened. Add fennel and celery, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft. Transfer vegetables to bowl with the toasted Udi’s gluten free bread crumbs. Add eggs, stock, cream and gently toss. Transfer mixture to a buttered shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. To brown the stuffing, uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Alternative to Stuffing- Paleo Style
This receipe comes from one of my favorite Paleo cookbooks called Paleo Comfort Food.

1 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, freshly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
3 cups celery, chopped
2 cups onion, chopped
3 granny smith apples, cored and chopped
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
¼ cup turkey stock or drippings from turkey
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, brown pork along with sage, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well and remove to bowl when cooked through.
3. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add in celery, onion, apples and mushrooms, and cook until onions are translucent and celery and mushrooms somewhat softened. Mix in the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
4.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and turkey stock. Set aside.
5. Combine the pork with the sautéed vegetables in a large baking dish, and pour the egg/stock mixture over.
6. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, uncovering for last 10 minutes to brown the stuffing on top.
(you can – if preferred – stuff your turkey with some of this goodness as well!)
Yields about 6 cups cooked stuffing
Sweet Potatoes Bits-  This is a Paleo and Gluten Free Dish but full of flavor.
 ( If you are concerned about the coconut oil this dish taste just as good with olive oil)


  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP Agave Nectar
  • 2 TBSP Coconut Oil

Cooking Steps

Peel sweet potatoes. Cut into bite sized pieces. Put 2 TBSP of coconut oil in a pan and melt it on medium heat. Once the oil has melted, put the sweet potatoes in the pan and stir to coat with coconut oil. Cook for 4 minutes. Stir. Place a lid on the pan and turn the heat down to low. Continue to cook for another 4 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Turn the heat off but keep the pan on the burner. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with agave nectar.
 Stir. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy.
This is a family favorite. It is also insanely easy.
Oven Roasted Broccoli

  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    Toss the broccoli with the olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the broccoli out in a single layer on the sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake until tender and slightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.


    Green Beans with Pearl Onions and Almonds


    2 (12-14 oz.) cans whole green beans
    1 (6 oz.) jar of pearl onions, drained (found on canned vegetable aisle)
    ¼ cup slivered almonds
    1 Tbsp. olive oil

    Pour green beans (with liquid) into a 2 qt. sauce pan. Add 1 can of additional water. Add drained pearl onions, slivered almonds, and olive oil. Simmer ten minutes until heated through. Add salt/pepper to taste. Cool slightly before serving.


    It is all about the Pie... Pumpkin Pie.... Yum!!

    PUMKIN PIE (Gluten-Free and Paleo)

    Choose a pie crust of choice. I cheat and buy a pre-made one from Whole Foods. 

    Here’s the filling:

    This makes enough for two 8 inch pies, so if you’re only doing one, cut it in half.

    Filling Ingredients:

    2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, or 1 29-ounce can of pumpkin ( I use Libby's. The ingredients are simple: Pumpkin puree.)
    4 whole eggs
    2 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend
    1 teasoon cinnamon
    ¼ teasoon cloves
    ½ teaspoon allspice
    teaspoon ginger
    1/3 cup dark agave syrup
    teaspoons gluten free vanilla extract (optional and to taste. I found the agave syrup is enough sweetener)
    2/3 cup full fat (not light) coconut milk (You can use Eagle Brand Condensed Milk instead but it will not be diary free.)

    If making only half the recipe, you can make this in the blender, which is very quick and easy, and also makes it easier to pour into the crust.  The full recipe will exceed the capacity of most blenders.
    1. Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl, in approximately the order they are listed.  Blend until thoroughly mixed.
    2. Pour into pre-baked pie shell, and bake for fifty minutes at 325.  Remember to reduce oven temperature after pre-baking the pie shells.  Check for doneness every 5 minutes thereafter, by inserting a paring knife into the pie; it should come out clean.

    Bread, Rolls and More Starch!!

    Gluten Free Bread. I have fallen love with Udi's bread because of their consistency and taste. Over the years I have used  Gluten Free Pantry, "Cause You Are Special, and Pamela's mixes for both gluten free bread and pie crusts. My family really loves "Cause you Are Special for their rolls.


    Have a very Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving.....

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