How to Make Keto Turkey Gravy

It relies on an ingredient you probably already have.

November 05, 2019
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Photo by: Creativ Studio Heinemann

Creativ Studio Heinemann

Gravy — it's what turkey is (often) thankful for on Thanksgiving. It adds flavor to the bird. And when else are you going to use your Grandmother's gravy boat? But if you or your guests follow the keto diet then gravy can be tricky: flour is often the thickener, which is not keto-friendly. There are different ways to thicken gravy — instant flour, masa harina, arrowroot, corn and potato starches, but all add more carbs than are appropriate for keto.

Some suggest using unflavored gelatin to make keto gravy, but it will more likely yield gravy jelly if you're not careful. Some recommend using almond or coconut flour instead of regular flour, and mixing them with soft butter. Neither are absorbent enough to thicken, though, so you end up with bits floating around in thin liquid — which isn’t groovy.

To solve the keto gravy conundrum, we were inspired by curry dishes — not the flavor rather the way many are thickened — with onions. Often, part of the base of a curry is a healthy amount of finely chopped onions that are cooked and coaxed into a toasted paste. This is essential not only for flavor but also to thicken the consistency once liquids are added. We took that technique and reversed it for thickening our keto gravy: Quarter 1 to 2 large white or red onions (don’t use yellow or sweet onions) and add to a roasting pan, under the turkey. By the time our 18-pound turkey cooked, the onions were supremely soft. We pureed them in a blender (a food processor is fine), with a little broth or stock to loosen it, as needed, and buzzed them into a thick and smooth paste. Then we whisked heaping tablespoons of the onion puree into the simmering gravy base until we reached the desired thickness. And voila, there was keto gravy.

Keto Turkey Gravy

1 to 2 large white or red onions (not yellow or sweet), quartered with root intact

4 cups homemade turkey or chicken stock (recipe below)

1 shallot, minced

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 sprig rosemary, minced

1 sprig thyme leaves, minced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Toss the onions into the roasting pan either underneath or around the turkey and roast according to your turkey recipe. Once done, the onions should be very soft and maybe even caramelized in spots. Puree in a blender or food processor until a thick, smooth paste. Set aside.

Pour any pan drippings into a degreasing cup or small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat, discarding the rest, and add the separated juices to the stock. Add the reserved fat to the roasting pan and place on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf-- season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until shallot is tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the stock and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and whisk in the onion puree, heaping tablespoons at a time, until thickened as desired. Boil to thicken the gravy slightly more, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain if desired-- remove and discard the garlic and bay leaf if not straining. Season with salt and pepper.

Yield: 3 to 4 cups gravy

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes plus onion roasting time (which depends on the turkey)

Ease of preparation: Easy

But before you can make gravy, you'll need turkey stock or broth. We highly advocate for making it from scratch:

Turkey Broth

Your gravy's flavor depends on the quality of the stock or broth. Homemade is ideal using the roasted carcass of a chicken or turkey — even a rotisserie chicken carcass works well.

1 roasted chicken or turkey carcass

2 onions, cut into chunks

2 carrots, cut into chunks

3 stalks celery, cut into chunks

1 bunch fresh parsley

4 cloves garlic, smashed (unpeeled)

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt

Use kitchen shears to make a few cuts to the carcass to get you started. Then, use your hands to carefully pull the carcass into 4 or 5 pieces.

Combine the carcass, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves in a stockpot. Cover with cold water (about 7 quarts).

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer about 2 hours, occasionally skimming any foam or fat from the surface with a large spoon or ladle.

Pour through a large mesh strainer into a pot; discard the solids. Cool slightly, then refrigerate in covered containers for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Yield: About 4 quarts

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Ease of preparation: Easy

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