FeaturesOct/Nov 2014 Issue

Giving Thanks: A Gluten-Free Holiday Feast

Heres a creative and tasty menu for a perfect gluten-free, allergy-sensitive Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving always evokes poignant memories of family, friends, football and, of course, wonderful food. As a toddler, I celebrated Thanksgiving in Brooklyn, New York, with my grandmother. As a teenager, I indulged in Aunt Rosemarie’s nine-course Thanksgiving on Long Island. As an adult, the Thanksgiving meal is now my responsibility. I usher in the holiday season at my dining room table surrounded by family and friends.

Dinner comes with dietary restrictions (my wife has celiac disease) and high expectations (I’m a professional chef and cookbook author). When I first took on the task about 15 years ago, I prepared two completely different meals—one full of gluten and one entirely without it. I was stressed and exhausted and there were so many dishes to wash that there was barely time to enjoy the guests or savor the day. Today with gluten-free culinary expertise under my belt and plenty of commercial products available, I serve one exceptional gluten-free meal to all.

Like most households in America, my Thanksgiving dinner takes shape around a giant turkey. Maple Brined Turkey is my bird of choice. Brining infuses it with moisture before it’s roasted. The turkey is submerged overnight in a solution of water, salt, sugar, maple syrup and fresh herbs and then slow-roasted until golden brown.

Fluffy mashed red and sweet potatoes, savory rice and bread stuffing, roasted vegetables and decadent gluten-free desserts enhance and round out the meal.

My older sons, Joseph and Andrew, typically give me a hand with the Yin Yang Potatoes. We layer smashed red potatoes in a casserole dish and bake them until they set up like a crust. After they cool, we put whipped sweet potatoes in a pastry bag and the boys pipe mounds of sticky sweet potatoes on top of the red potato crust. We bake the dish a second time until it’s piping hot.

Holiday stuffing has always been a point of contention in my house. My wife, a healthy eater, prefers a wild rice and quinoa stuffing. My father-in-law, a less conscientious eater, insists that stuffing be made with bread. To keep the peace, I created the perfect compromise—Wild Rice, Quinoa and Cherry Stuffing. It’s a new family favorite.

For vegetables, I prepare two outstanding dishes. My Kale and Wild Mushroom Casserole made with baby greens, eggs and a blend of wild mushrooms, is similar to a crustless quiche. Then I prepare Roasted Fall Vegetables, featuring butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower mixed with olive oil and fresh herbs and roasted until they’re caramelized and tender.

The breadbasket is filled with delicious gluten-free Brazilian Cheese Puffs, perfect for sopping up gravy.

Dinner ends with two seasonal desserts. Sweet Potato Pie is a delicious twist on pumpkin pie. (Your family will never ask for pumpkin pie again.) Cranberry Walnut Tart uses colorful cranberries in a new and flavorful way.

As scrumptious as this menu is, the best part of Thanksgiving isn’t the food. It’s the time spent with family and friends, enjoying the abundance of the season while catching up, sharing stories and making new memories. Thanksgiving is the ideal time to cast light on the year gone by and to give thanks for multiple blessings. Happy, blessed Thanksgiving!


Turkey

Photos by Brian Ambrose Photography

Maple Brined Turkey

SERVES 15

This will be the juiciest bird you’ve ever tasted.

Brine

1 gallons water
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup grade B maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar, packed
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
6 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs parsley
5 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs sage
8 cups ice cubes

Turkey

1 (18-20 pound) turkey, rinsed
2 lemons, halved
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups gluten-free chicken broth

1. For the brine, combine water, kosher salt, syrup, brown sugar, garlic, black peppercorns, thyme, parsley, rosemary and sage in a large non-reactive stockpot. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat, add ice cubes and let brine cool to room temperature.

2. Line a large stockpot with a heavy-duty plastic bag. It should be large enough to hold the turkey with extra space for the brine.

3. Place the turkey in the plastic bag and pour maple brine over the bird until completely covered. Tie the plastic bag shut around the turkey so that the bird is covered with brine. Refrigerate turkey in the brine 18 to 24 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 325F.

5. Remove turkey from the brine and pat dry inside and out. Discard the brine. Squeeze juice from lemons into the cavities of the bird and insert the rinds. Tie the legs together and place the bird on a rack inside a large roasting pan.

6. Coat the turkey with olive oil. Place in preheated oven and roast 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes with broth and pan drippings until internal temperature is 165F. (If turkey begins to brown too quickly, loosely tent the bird with foil.)

7. Remove the turkey from the oven. Tent it with foil and let it rest 20 minutes before carving.

Each serving contains 230 calories, 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 103mg cholesterol, 157mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 15g sugars, 25g protein, 11 Est GL.Turkey Gravy

Gravy in spoon

Gravy in spoon by Brian Ambrose photography

Gluten Free Turkey Gravy

MAKES 8 CUPS

-Pan juices from roasted Maple Brined Turkey
-Turkey or chicken broth (low sodium)
1 cup cold turkey or chicken broth, more as needed
cup cornstarch
-Salt, to taste
-Pepper, to taste

1. Pour pan juices through a fine mesh sieve into a glass bowl. Using a ladle or a turkey baster, skim off the fat and discard. Add enough turkey broth to pan juices to total 7 cups.

2. Place the roasting pan over burners on medium-high heat. Stir 1 cup broth (out of the 7 cups) into the pan while scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon to loosen up the brown bits. Pour mixture through a fine sieve a second time into a medium saucepan. Add the remainder of the 7 cups broth and bring mixture to a simmer.

3. In a mixing bowl, mix 1 cup cold broth with cornstarch, stirring until dissolved. Slowly whisk mixture into the simmering broth. Increase heat and bring broth to a boil until gravy thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Each cup contains 93 calories, 7g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 3g protein, 1 Est GL.

Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts by Thinkstock/istock/svetlana foote

Roasted Fall Vegetables

SERVES 8

This delicious harvest medley is tossed with fresh herbs and baked until the vegetables are slightly caramelized on the edges and tender to the bite.

1 (1-2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
3 medium carrots ( pound), peeled and sliced -inch thick
2 parsnips (1 pound), peeled and sliced -inch thick
1 small head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
⅓ cup olive oil
4 (4-inch) sprigs rosemary, stems removed
3 thyme sprigs, stems removed
4 sage leaves
-Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a large bowl, toss together vegetables, olive oil and fresh herbs. Season generously with salt and pepper and spread over a large baking sheet without over-crowding.

3. Place vegetables in preheated oven and bake until they’re slightly caramelized and tender, about 1 hour. Toss every 20 minutes while baking. Serve immediately.

Each serving contains 202 calories, 10g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 49mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 8g sugars, 4g protein, 9 Est GL.

Kale and Wild Mushroom Casserole

SERVES 8

This spectacular dish is like a crustless quiche. Top it with gluten-free breadcrumbs and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. For best results, do not replace the eggs in this recipe.

2 tablespoons olive oil
cup diced onion
pound Portobello, shiitake, or cremini mushrooms, sliced
cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
cup Parmesan cheese or dairy-free grated cheese of choice, divided
8 large eggs
cup milk of choice
teaspoon Dijon mustard
teaspoon cayenne pepper
teaspoon salt
8 ounces baby greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 9x9-inch baking pan with oil.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onions and mushrooms and cook until onions are tender and mushrooms are slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to rest.

3. In small bowl, mix together breadcrumbs and cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir in mushroom mixture, remaining cup Parmesan cheese and baby greens. Pour into prepared baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, press down on the greens so they’re slightly covered with the egg mixture.

5. Place in preheated oven and bake until slightly set in the middle, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese mixture and bake an additional 10 minutes until slightly browned on top. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Each serving contains 162 calories, 11g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 218mg cholesterol, 362 mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g sugars, 11g protein, 4 Est GL.

wild rice thinkstock/istock/eskymaks

Wild Rice, Quinoa and Cherry Stuffing

SERVES 8 TO 10

Thanksgiving stuffing was a point of contention in my house. This recipe was a delicious compromise. For nut-free stuffing, substitute an equal amount of golden flaxseed meal for the hazelnuts.

6 cups gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth, divided
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 cup uncooked quinoa
6 cups (1–inch cubed) gluten-free bread
2 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter alternative
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced sweet onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced apple
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
cup dried cherries
cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped, or cup golden flax meal
cup fresh chopped parsley
-Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large pot, bring 5 cups chicken broth to a boil. Stir in wild rice and quinoa. Decrease heat and simmer covered until all liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour. Pour onto a sheet pan and let cool. Then pour into large bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 350F.

3. Place bread cubes on a sheet pan and toast in preheated oven until dry and crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add bread cubes to bowl with rice-quinoa.

4. Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and celery, cooking until tender, about 5 minutes. Add apples, thyme, sage and marjoram and cook until apples soften and herbs become fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add mixture to bowl with bread cubes.

5. Stir in dried cherries, hazelnuts or flax meal and parsley. Generously season with salt and pepper, stirring until combined.

6. Spread stuffing in a casserole dish and drizzle with 1 cup broth. Cover dish with foil. Place in preheated oven and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 additional minutes until top is slightly browned.

Each slice contains 425 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 12mg cholesterol, 168mg sodium, 71g carbohydrate, 57g fiber, 7g sugars, 10g protein, 43 Est GL.

Yin Yang Potatoes

SERVES 12

Not only are these potatoes delicious, they look amazing on the dinner table, bursting with color and flavor.

Red Potatoes Crust

2 pounds unpeeled red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter alternative
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9x13-inch pan.

2. Place potatoes in large pot of cold water and bring to a boil on high heat. Decrease heat and simmer potatoes until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place in a stand mixer bowl.

3. Add garlic, butter, parsley and blend on medium speed until potatoes are slightly mashed. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix until mashed. (Small chunks of potato are okay.)

4. Spread potatoes evenly over the bottom of prepared pan, pressing firmly with the back of a spatula.

5. Place pan in preheated oven and cook 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Set aside to cool. Then cut crust into 12 squares inside the pan.

Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter alternative
cup light brown sugar, packed
teaspoon salt
3 slices bacon, cooked crispy, crumbled

1. Put potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Decrease heat and simmer potatoes until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place in a stand mixer bowl.

2. Add butter, brown sugar and salt, mixing until smooth and creamy with no lumps. Let cool slightly.

3. Using a pastry bag with a star tip, pipe equal-size mounds (rosettes) onto each square in the pan. Then sprinkle each mound with bacon crumbles.

4. Place pan in preheated 375F oven until warmed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Each serving contains 177 calories, 5g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 13mg cholesterol, 187mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 8g sugars, 3g protein, 14 Est GL.

cheese puffs thinkstock/istock/bonchan

Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Puffs

MAKES 15 BISCUITS

Quick and easy to prepare, these puffs are crispy on the outside and chewy-gooey-cheesy on the inside. For best results, serve them hot from the oven.

2 cups tapioca starch/flour
cup white rice flour, extra for dusting
teaspoon salt
1 cup milk of choice
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
cup shredded sharp cheddar or dairy-free cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together tapioca starch/flour, white rice flour and salt. Set aside.

3. Bring milk and oil to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Slowly pour milk mixture into flour, stirring until blended. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Stir in eggs and cheese until blended.

5. Dust your hands with white rice flour. Scoop about 3 tablespoons batter into the palm of your hands and shape batter into a ball. Place on prepared pan. Repeat until all batter is used up. You should have about 15 balls.

6. Place biscuits in preheated oven and bake until lightly golden brown and puffed, about 20 minutes. Serve warm from the oven.

Each biscuit contains 135 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 34mg cholesterol, 143mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 2g protein, 8 Est GL.

For Egg-Free Brazilian Cheese Puffs, omit 2 eggs. Add cup potato starch to dry ingredients in Step 2. Reserve 1 tablespoon oil (out of the 6 tablespoons) and mix it with teaspoon baking powder; set aside. After the cheese is added in Step 4, let dough cool completely. Then add reserved oil and baking powder mixture and blend thoroughly. Proceed to Step 5.


Sweet Potato Pie

MAKES ONE 9-INCH PIE

You’ll never go back to traditional pumpkin pie after tasting this special Thanksgiving dessert.

Crust

1 cups white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
2 teaspoons sugar
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon xanthan gum
4 tablespoons chilled salted butter or dairy-free butter alternative
cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
cup milk of choice

Filling

2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 pounds)
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter replacement
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
teaspoon salt
cup cream, cultured coconut milk or canned coconut cream

1. In large bowl, whisk together rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking soda and xanthan gum. Add in butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter and shortening into the flour until texture is coarse and slightly crumbly.

2. Using a fork, gradually stir in milk to moisten flour. Then form the dough into a firm ball with your hands. Press into a round disk about 4 to 6 inches wide. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 9-inch pie pan.

4. Roll dough between 2 pieces of wax paper into a 12-inch circle. Remove wax paper from the top and invert prepared pan over the dough. Place your other hand under the bottom layer of wax paper under the dough and turn the dough over to fall into the pan. Tuck dough into pan and peel off the wax paper. (Crust can be patched by pressing dough pieces into the baking pan.) Cut excess dough away from edges with a knife. Crimp edges.

5. To make the filling, poke holes in sweet potatoes with a fork. Place sweet potatoes on a sheet pan in preheated oven on the center rack. Roast sweet potatoes 1 to 1 hours until they’re cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

6. Remove skins from sweet potatoes. Place peeled flesh in a mixing bowl with sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat together ingredients until combined. Then slowly mix in cream until incorporated.

7. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust. Place pie in preheated oven and bake until the center is set, about 40 to 45 minutes.

8. Remove from oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Pie yields 8 slices. Each slice contains 564 calories, 33g total fat, 18g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 108mg cholesterol, 252mg sodium, 65g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 28g sugars, 5g protein, 38 Est GL.

For Egg-Free Sweet Potato Pie, omit 2 eggs in the filling. Mix 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch and teaspoon baking powder into cup cream (in the recipe), blending until smooth; add to recipe in Step 6. Bake the pie a full 45 minutes or until the crust is browning. Cool completely and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight for the filling to firm up.


Photo by Brian Ambrose photography

Cranberry Walnut Tart

Makes one 10-inch tart

Here’s a wonderful way to use fresh cranberries. For a nut-free tart, substitute an equal amount of seeds for the chopped walnuts.

Crust

1 cups white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon xanthan gum
4 tablespoons chilled salted butter or dairy-free butter alternative
cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
cup milk of choice

Filling

2/3 cup light corn syrup, maple syrup or honey
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cups fresh cranberries
⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds
⅓ cup chopped walnuts or seeds of choice

1. In a large bowl, whisk together rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking soda and xanthan gum. Add butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter and shortening into the flour until texture is coarse and slightly crumbly.

2. Using a fork, gradually stir milk into flour mixture to moisten and form a dough. Form dough into a firm ball with your hands. Press into a round disk about 4 to 6 inches wide. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 10-inch tart pan.

4. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Roll it between 2 pieces of wax paper into a 13-inch round circle. Remove wax paper from top and invert prepared pan over dough. Place your other hand under the bottom layer of wax paper under the dough and turn the dough over to fall into the tart pan. Tuck dough into the pan and peel off the wax paper. Using a knife, cut excess dough away from edges. Firmly press dough into the sides of the pan with your fingers.

5. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before filling.

6. In a medium bowl, whisk together corn syrup, sugars, vanilla, salt and eggs until completely incorporated. Fold in cranberries, pumpkin seeds and walnuts with a rubber spatula. Pour filling into tart shell.

7. Place pie in preheated oven and bake until center is set and tart is slightly golden, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Tart yields 12 slices. Each slice contains 357 calories, 17g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 59mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 18g sugars, 5g protein, 28 Est GL.

For Egg-Free Cranberry Walnut Tart, omit 3 eggs in the filling. Whisk teaspoon baking powder into sugars in step 6. In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons hot applesauce; set aside to cool. Combine 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch with 3 tablespoons cold water; mix well and add to cooled flax meal and applesauce. Use this mixture to replace 3 eggs in step 6.

Rob Landolphi (glutenfreechef.com) is culinary operations manager at the University of Connecticut. He is author of Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook, Quick-Fix Gluten Free (Andrews McMeel Publishing) and Gluten-Free Baking (Cooking Light).

Comments (1)

Thank you Rob for this information and recipes - we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada about the 9th of October (and I get to do it all over again in Florida in November). So this information is doubly important to me and my family. I can't wait to try your recipes and am looking forward to getting hold of your cookbooks as well.

Posted by: Lougagne47 | September 4, 2014 1:23 PM    Report this comment

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