I’m here today with another paleo hack for your holiday meals. If you have any say what goes into your gravy this year, please please please put down the cornstarch and the all-purpose flour. I’m not going to go into why, so just trust me on this one. There are paleo-friendly starches, I know since I made good use of them in my book. But one can only take so much tapioca starch in their life before you go looking for an alternative.
A note on using chia: if you suspect you have some serious gut issues going on, I’d recommend erring on the side of caution and using a lower amount of chia than the recipes lists. The amount of chia used will determine the final consistency so less chia just means it’ll be slightly more runny. Those of you with a history of IBS, confirmed SIBO or FODMAPs issues may not be too happy with the high fiber chia supplies. It can act as roughage in your gut and you may pay for it the next day. Otherwise, chia is a definite winner vs. starches because of the higher fiber content and lower glycemic effect.
Can you use ground flaxseed instead? Probably, though I couldn’t comment on the amount needed. Is chia better? Yes. Far less phyto-estrogen activity in chia than flax. Not to mention flax is very high in o-6’s, which are only made worse by heat. Chia’s fatty acid profile is primarily o-3’s so it’s a winner there, as well (these 0-3’s are not very bioavailable in this form but at least it’s not 0-6’s you’re ingesting). I recommend grinding it as finely as possible before adding to the broth so you get a smooth, creamy gravy. A spice grinder is the best tool for the job–they are cheap and compact and worth the investment since they can make a world of difference when cooking with fresh, whole spices. A little goes a long way here so adjust the amount of ground chia, as desired. What do you prefer: thin gravy, thick gravy? Personally I go for the thin.
Paleo Gravy (grain-free/starch-free)
2 Tbsp. avocado oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. chopped fresh herbs (I like thyme and rosemary together)
¼ c. white wine (optional, can sub extra broth here)
2 c. bone broth or stock of choice
4 Tbsp. chia seeds, ground (this amount is post-grinding)
sea salt & pepper, to taste
Heat a wide, deep saute pan over medium heat. Add the avocado oil and medium onion. Cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and chopped herbs. Stir for about 60 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the wine (or sub ¼ c. extra bone broth), and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the 2 c. broth and move the heat to medium high. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes to meld all the flavors. Remove from the heat and allow to cool 5-10 minutes.
Carefully pour the liquid into a blender (watch for hot splashes when the onion bits go in) and add the ground chia (I use a spice grinder to get mine ground finely but a blender would work). Cover and blend on high until the chia is fully incorporated, about 60 seconds. Let the mixture stand to thicken for 2-3 minutes and blend on high again, another 30 seconds or until smooth. Gravy can be thickened further from this point by adding 1 tablespoon of ground chia at a time until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately while warm.
***Note: use caution when blending hot liquids; mixtures should always be turned on low to begin, with speeds increased slowly to avoid pressure build up and burns. It can help to cover the blender with a large towel and press down while blending.