If you think cutting carbs is the end of your gravy train, then I have good news for you.
In my last post, I talked about eating mashed cauliflower and suggested using gravy to make it more appealing. Because of the carbs in traditional gravy, I avoid using flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot to thicken. I tried coconut flour, but the texture felt gritty on my tongue. Same with chickpea flour. Most gluten-free flours are actually quite high in carbs, so that wasn’t an option either. Then I thought about my recipe for Roasted Rosemary Chicken with “Instant” Gravy. Baked onions are the only thickening agent. It occurred to me that caramelized onions should work the same way, and sure enough, they make a tasty gravy. The good news is that this recipe boasts only 5 grams of carbs for a generous half-cup serving.
Caramelizing onions is not hard, but the process takes some time. Fortunately, they can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. I nearly always have a few packages of frozen caramelized onions in the freezer for a quick meal.
If you are a mushroom lover like I am, try browning about eight ounces of mushrooms in same skillet you used for the onions. Add half of the mushrooms to the blender, or just leave them in pieces and add to your finished gravy for visual interest and added flavor.
The flavor of your gravy will depend at least 99% on the quality and richness of your broth. If you use bouillon or canned stock, check the taste before adding salt. If you have juices left from a roast or baked chicken, use that. No broth in sight? Use water you have used to deglaze the pan in which you caramelized the onions. All those browned bits will add flavor and color to your gravy. Depending on your tastes and dietary limitations, try adding a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, or Kitchen Bouquet. (Check labels. These will likely add sugar and grains.) If you are strict about no extra sugar or grains, try adding herbs such as thyme or parsley, unflavored Greek yogurt, or sour cream.
Disclaimer: If cooked onions affect you adversely, this probably isn’t the recipe for you.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced thinly (8-10 ounces)
- 1½ cups water or broth (chicken, beef, or veggie--see notes)
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pre-heat a medium to large size skillet over medium heat on stove. The heavier the skillet, the better. Add oil, then onions, stirring frequently, especially during the beginning and the end, until they caramelize and turn brown. This may take between 30-45 minutes and can be done ahead of time. The onions should have cooked down to approximately ½ cup. Place onions into a blender.
- Add water or broth of your choice to same skillet you used for onions. Boil until all brown bits have dissolved into the water or broth. Add water or broth to blender containing onions saving back about a fourth cup.
- Starting at a slow speed and progressing to high, blend until smooth. Open blender and clean sides with a spatula. Add butter for smoothness. Keep blending. Add more liquid if gravy is too thick for your tastes. If you decide to add herbs, sour cream, or yogurt, do it last and blend just until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. (Sorry I can't give you an exact measurement. It depends on the broth you are using. My husband requires lots of pepper so there's that, too.
*If adding sour cream and yogurt, start with a couple tablespoons.
*Regarding nutritional analysis: Sodium analysis is not included because individual tastes for saltiness will vary. Optional mushrooms and any fat or seasonings in broth are also not considered. Analysis is done with water as the liquid.)