My first attempt at a Paleo-friendly gravy was way back on my very first Thanksgiving Dinner in 2011. I used coconut flour as a thickener for a traditional pan gravy. It really wasn’t very good. The coconut flour worked to thicken the gravy, but also made it taste very coconutty, with a terribly grainy texture. I then discovered that arrowroot powder works well as a thickener with a very neutral flavor and even used this strategy in my Swedish Meatball recipe. I used arrowroot for years afterward to make gravy…. until one day, I made a pot roast. When I found that the vegetables were just too soft for my liking, I decided to puree all the veggies to make a sauce. It was delicious! I then proceeded to experiment with different vegetables, cooked in broth and then pureed. Most veggies end up making something very much like a creamy pureed soup, overwhelming the flavor of the broth. It’s good, but it’s not gravy. And then, one day, I overcooked cauliflower in broth (I was trying to just make a simple side dish of cauliflower cooked in broth). I pureed it and something magical happened. It didn’t taste like cauliflower (I’m actually not particularly fond of cauliflower!). It tasted like gravy.
So, cauliflower gravy was born. And for a much higher nutrient content than using a starch like arrowroot. The secret to this gravy is to have really flavorful broth–the kind you’d enjoy drinking from a mug. I even suggest concentrating your broth by simmering without a lid for 20-30 minutes to reduce the volume by half or more! Make beef gravy by using beef broth, chicken gravy (like in the photo) by using chicken broth, etc.
This gravy has the added benefit of being much less fussy than thickening broth or pan juices with starch. Simply simmer the cauliflower in broth until overcooked, pour into a blender, and blend to a puree! Since the goal is overcooked cauliflower (so that the texture is super smooth once pureed), it doesn’t matter if you cook the cauliflower a little (or even a lot!) too long! If it’s too thick, add a little more broth to thin. If it’s too thin (not likely with this recipe), put it back on the stovetop and gently simmer to thicken.
This recipe is so versatile and delicious that it has found its way many places. First published in The Paleo Approach Cookbook, then featured in the Paleo Bites pilot, then included in the Best of AIP Cookbook, and now here, for all of you to enjoy!
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- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 1/2 cups bone broth (chicken, beef, pork, etc.)
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt, to taste
- Place the cauliflower in a saucepot with the broth and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is overcooked.
- Pour the mixture into a high-speed blender. Cover the lid of your blender with a tea towel to make sure you don’t burn yourself. Blend for 1 minute, until completely smooth. Taste and season with salt if desired. If too thick, thin with additional broth or water.
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