News alert…Halloween is over. Lest the stores let you think Christmas is your next big holiday…think again. Thanksgiving is coming up. Whether this is your first gluten-free Thanksgiving, you’re cooking for someone else on a gluten-free diet, or you’re a veteran looking for some new ideas, making the meal gluten-free does take a little extra planning, but it is worth it.
My mom was a huge help for me in those early years when I hardly knew how to do any Thanksgiving dinner let alone make one gluten-free. But with a lot of her help we now have a pretty good system in place. So I’ll be up front and tell you a lot of the credit for this blog post goes to my mother.
· Choosing a bird: You must make sure you buy a turkey that is gluten free! I remember thinking, “What? Turkey is turkey! What could they possibly do to mess it up?” Well the company could inject it with a broth that contains gluten. Once I found a turkey, I stuck with it the one I chose actually says “gluten-free” right on the label. I like to reward companies that are proactive in their labelling with my business.
· Preparing the turkey: Don’t stuff the turkey (with ‘gluten’stuffing) and make sure you don’t buy a pre-stuffed turkey. Regular stuffing put inside the turkey will contaminate the meat for the whole bird. Also, be sure any seasoning you put on top of the turkey is gluten-free.
· You have a few options here, if you don’t care about gluten-free stuffing, don’t go to the trouble of making it. If others in your party want regular stuffing, just crank out a box of StoveTop – on the Stove Top and keep it separate from your food.
· If you want to make gluten-free stuffing or dressing and don’t want to cut up a ton of gluten-free bread, my mom’s recipe for Wild Rice Dressing is great!
· Thickener: Easiest way to do this is Corn Starch (this choice is especially popular if you are a “guest cook” for the gluten-free meal and don’t have many gf supplies around). I use my gluten-free flour mix for my gravy. It is actually Bette Hagman’s recipe for a gluten-free mix: Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch and Potato Starch. I find that flour mixture to be the most like regular gravy, my husband – the gravy lover in the family — can’t even tell it’s gluten-free. You can also use plain potato starch as a thickener.
· Extra Flavor: you can use bouillon –but again, make sure it is gluten free.
· Pie Crust: Use your favorite gluten-free pie crust recipe. Here is one recommendation, but there are many others available.
· Modifying your favorite pie recipe: The good news here is, besides the pie crust, modifying your pie recipe may be an exception, not the rule. Whether you love pumpkin, apple, sweet potato or cherry pie, many of the recipes for fillings are already gluten-free.
You have a few weeks to gear up for this extravaganza. So get cooking! Once your tummy settles
and the kitchen is cleaned up, you may look back and think that it was easier than you thought.