Alex Guarnaschelli’s Thanksgiving Gravy Hack Is a Total Game-Changer

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Judge Alex Guarnaschelli during the Side Challenge, Thanksgiving Sweet Pie, Holiday Savory Side, as seen on Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge, Season 1.

Photo by: Anders Krusberg

Anders Krusberg

Lumpy gravy is a Thanksgiving dinner mood-killer. No one wants to pour gravy from its boat and watch blobs of flour or cornstarch plop onto their mashed potatoes. This year, to avoid the risk altogether, Alex Guarnachelli, who’s a judge Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge (premiering Sunday, Nov. 4 at 9|8c), shared with us what she calls her “little secret weapon.”

Instead of thickening your gravy with the usual slurry of cornstarch or flour, which tends to seize up in the hot gravy and create lumps, Alex opts for a natural thickener: pureed roasted veggies. She likes a mix of onions, carrots and celery, which you’re probably already roasting with the bird — and if that’s the case, just use those, since they’ll be full of all that savory, meaty flavor. The goal is to get the vegetables soft – really soft, like “you can crush them with your fingers,” explains Alex. Pop them in the blender with a splash of warm stock, she says, then puree the mixture until it’s smooth. You can spoon this right into a stockpot of gravy, whisking to combine, thus creating a thick, cohesive, creamy finished product.

Don’t miss Alex as a judge on Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge, premiering Sunday, Nov. 4 at 9|8c. Check out our entire collection of tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes right here.

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Alex Guarnaschelli Bio

Alex Guarnaschelli is a world renowned chef, who began her international culinary journey at Michelin three-star restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris. From there, Guarnaschelli spent four years at a Butte Chaillot, where she was rapidly promoted to sous chef. After great success in France, she returned stateside joining Daniel Boulud at his restaurant, Daniel. In 2003, Guarnaschelli was given the opportunity to expand her repertoire and become the executive chef at Butter, where she has since created her own eclectic American and green-market inspired menu. Guarnaschelli is a recurring judge on the popular Food Network series Chopped and in 2012, she bested nine rival chefs to win The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, earing the coveted title of Iron Chef. She has also been featured as a guest co-host on Beat Bobby Flay. Guarnaschelli is also the author of the cookbooks Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook (2013) and The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart (2017).

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