Happy Christmas and one of your guests has celiac disease or gluten allergy? Here is what to do to create a memorable Christmas Dinner without worry.
Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash
Halve acorn squash and bake in the oven at 350 F Bake untll the squash flesh is soft and then remove from the oven. In a blender mix 8 ounces cream cheese and assorted nuts and vegetables. Use diced peppers, onions, and add nuts like walnuts or cashews, but no peanuts. Whip until soft and then dollop a few tablespoons into each cavity of the acorn squash. When each squash is full, season with salt and pepper and return to the broiler. Set the broiler on high and heat for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling. There are some who prefer to mix their squash with the cream cheese mixture making this the twice baked acorn squash appetizer. I like it too, but if your culinary tastes are not the same just broil the cream cheese mixture inside of the cooked squash. Offer salt, pepper and ground cinnamon at the table.
Holiday Crab Cakes
Make homemade crab cakes just as you normally would only skip the bread crumbs and use pulverized amonds instead. Mix the crab with the pulverized almonds and the egg white and yoke of one egg. I like to season with a little salt and ground white pepper before forming patties. Brush with melted butter and set in oven at 375 F. Serve on a warmed plate with a small ramekin of horseradish mayonnaise sauce, but you must check your mayonnaise before you serve this (Kraft Mayonnaise is gluten free). If you detect gluten in the commercial recipe, make a homemade sauce using two raw eggs, olive oil ( a short pour) and two heaping dollops of sour cream with a tablespoon of fresh raw horseradish in the blender. Set at whip. When light and fluffy remove and plate.
Corn Bread Rolls or Muffins
From scratch or by the package (as long as it is gluten free) serve corn bread, corn muffins or corn rolls to accompany your meal. Replace yeasty dough muffins with this gluten free alternative. I have a corncob pan that I can make festive corn bread in all year. It is worth the investment if you have one or more family members who is gluten allergic.
You can choose any of the below main entrees and remain gluten free but I am going to explain my stuffed holiday chicken recipe at the end of this segment.
Roast Prime Ribs of Beef
Roast Young Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing
Roast Holiday Ham with pan drippings
Roast Young Goose or Chicken with Risotto Stuffing
Here’s the thing. You can serve any meat or fish entree that you like so long as you don’t use flour or other thickening agents in stuffing or the gravy. If you stick with pan drippings or au jus for gravy and use rice or cornmeal for stuffing you will be fine, but here is my favorite recipe for the lowly and misunderstood roast chicken on Christmas.
I like chicken a lot and in years of economic recession is it not only reasonable but fashionable and does not require a whole lot of adornment to be the best Christmas dinner entree ever. In addition, you can roast off a chicken, stuff it and prepare a wonderful sauce without a gluten worry in the world.
Roast or rotisserie whole chickens with enough meat to serve one half chicken per person. Slow roast the bird with melted butter and pan drippings as often as possible. Be careful not to over cook and prepare according to directions until the chicken is juicy and tender.
In a separate casserole, prepare the “stuffing”. You can use a prepackaged arborio rice for saffron risotto or porcini risotto. After cooking, according to package instructions, add some baby peas and some crisp bacon chunks with a handful of diced onion and chopped mushroom caps. Let sit on the stove top for about fifteen minutes before serving.
Next take the other half of the diced onion and mushroom caps and sautee in a skillet with butter until the onion is almost carmelized (brown)and then thow in a pint of Whiskey (any kind will do, as it is all gluten free). After the mixture has simmered for a few moments, ladle over the roast chicken and risotto stuffing.
For an elegant and simple side, use any green vegetable steamed and drizzled with butter. You can try broccoli spears, chopped spinach (add some cream and Pernod liquer to spice things up), or baby asparagus or even baby peas. If you prefer carrots stick with steamed carrots in a butter sauce. Stay away from any recipe that requires vinegar or flour. With the roast chicken recipe above I love to serve juliennes of winter vegetables, roasted in the same pan as my Christmas roast and spooned out at serving time with just a bit of butter and cinnamon.
The most difficult part of any festive meal for the gluten free is dessert. We have become so accustomed to bakery goods that we rarely think of a dessert without a flour base,but dessert can be delicious and gluten free.
Baked Indian Pudding a la mode
Gluten Free Ice Cream Treats
Cream Cheese Cake
Search online for a good recipe for baked Indian pudding, made with gluten free cornmeal, molasses and milk and fill your house with a pumpkin pie scent without the gluten. It may take several hours to make but is worth the wait and you will never bake a pumpkin pie again after you taste this rich and satisfying dessert. You can find gluten free ice cream in almost every supermarket today. Serve the ice cream in a frosty cup or bowl with a splash of flaming brandy. If you absolutely cannot resist a bakery dessert, try cheesecake without the topping. Don’t eat the crust either, but scoop out the cake and enjoy.
Safe, happy and healthy holidays to all.