Growing up, my mother didn’t know much about cholesterol and fat content. She made things the old fashioned way, whether that meant sautéing items in bacon fat, or using a tub of butter. These days, people are more conscious of their dieting habits, but sometimes that means giving up taste as well. Here are a few tips, to help lighten the load and have a glutinous dinner for the Christmas Holiday.
Purchasing the Bird
You wouldn’t think that the turkey itself would be glutinous. However, the basting solutions that some manufacturers use are not the healthiest. Since this is the biggest menu item on the holiday dinner list, try a turkey that is better for you, from the start. Two examples are Perdue and Empire Kosher. If the label doesn’t specify, try to avoid any self-basting turkey as these have been injected, or turkeys that are pre-flavored.
Aside from the bird, gravy is the next biggest problem area. Instead of traditional gravy made from flour, try using a reduced version with cornstarch. I boil the giblets and neck from the turkey to make the stock, and reduce the liquid to about 3 cups; strain to remove giblets and pieces. Then, I add some pan juices, a little bit of salt, and 1 small onion. Next, in a small container, add 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 cup of water and shake vigorously until blended. Add this mixture to the stock mixture, and heat on low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened.
Green Beans with Almonds
Here’s my signature side dish for the holiday meal.
Fry 3 strips of gluten-free bacon (look on the packaged label). In leftover bacon fat, stir-fry green beans. Crush cooked bacon. In the last two minutes of cooking, add crushed bacon and almonds.
As a general rule, cornbread is great for those on a gluten-free diet. To begin, prepare your favorite cornbread recipe. Cool on rack and cut into cubes; let sit overnight. Before making stuffing, dry cubes in a 250F oven, turning after 20 minutes and continuing to bake another 20, or until dry. Preheat oven to 375F.
In a skillet, sauté some vegetables and spices of your choice over medium heat with butter. I tend to rotate these, but celery, onion, carrots, and garlic are my staples of choice.
As soon as the cornbread is finished, mix the vegetables with the diced cornbread. Fold in with enough vegetable stock or turkey stock (see above) until it is moist, but not soggy. Put into a baking pan and bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes if you like a layer of crunch on top.