vegansaurus!

05/25/2011

Gluten-free biscuits and gravy! Your eyes do not deceive you!  »

I don’t have celiac disease and I don’t have a sensitivity to gluten; nonetheless, I’m into the challenge of making delicious gluten-free, vegan, baked goods and entrees/sides.  The thing that discourages me when I am looking for recipes is that I need to have 5 million ingredients, none of which are in my “pantry” (haphazard shelf in the kitchen). I mean, are 15 different bean and grain flours necessary?

I’ve taken it upon myself to experiment and I came up with this biscuit. Only three flours! Plus xanthan gum, which is expensive, but imperative. It is what binds the flours together, which is what gluten normally does. I like to get mine out of bulk bins, that way I don’t have spend $15 at a time.

Ingredients
1/2 cup corn flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup garfava flour
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. salt
5 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup chilled soy margarine or vegetable shortening at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened soy milk or water

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
The trick with biscuits is to not play with them too much. This is especially true when working with regular flour, but I like to think the same rule applies for gluten-free as well. The less you handle them, the flakier they will be.

Measure out your flours, salt, xanthan gum and baking powder (dry ingredients) in a bowl.  Whisk to get any lumps out and to mix everything together (you can use a fork for this step-sometimes I find myself with no whisk). Add chilled soy margarine in small chunks.  This is called cutting it in, which is described here. You don’t need a pastry cutter, some people use knives, but I use my hands. Not over mixing or playing with your dough is extremely important once you start adding the fat and liquid.
 
The different dry ingredients whisked together.


Chunks of fat.

Lightly, by hand, mix everything together. You want the consistency to be “pebble- or sand-like,” with chunks of magerine or shortening visible throughout. Next, add your soy milk or water.  Knead 10 times, no more!
 
Pebble-like. Maybe closer to sand this time around.

Now, I don’t have a pastry-cutter, I’m not that fancy, but maybe I should look into it. I just spoon out some dough and drop in onto a greased baking sheet. A few inches apart, and you should get about eight biscuits out of it. Place in the center of the oven.

Gluten-free goods bake faster than their regular counterparts. Check them around the 8 minute mark.  If the bottoms are browning, they are close to done. You don’t want the tops to brown, or they won’t be flaky, they will be OVERBAKED. The baking time should be around eight to 12 minutes, depending how long the oven preheated and how quickly your oven bakes.

Perfect!

Gravy is so easy, once you make it the first time, I guarantee you will become a gravy-making machine!

Ingredients
1 medium red onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. rice flour (sweet or regular)
3 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. salt
pinch of Italian herbs

Instructions
Dice up your onion and saute it on medium heat until it’s transparent or caramelized. Add chopped or minced garlic, cooking until fragrant, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add 2 Tbsp. rice flour to coat everything in the pan and let it cook in for a minute or two, moving constantly as to not let flour burn. Browning it a little will add a subtle nutty flavor to your gravy.


Onions and garlic, coated with rice flour.

Pour in 2 cups of soy milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a light boil. You will probably need to turn up the heat a little bit. Add your salt and pepper, then the remainder of the soy milk. Don’t stop whisking! Once you get the consistency/thickness you prefer, take off the heat and add a pinch of Italian herbs. Add more salt/pepper as desired. You can either leave it chunky, or throw it in a food processor or blender until smooth.


Adding the soy milk.


Whisk until thickened.


Biscuits and gravy! There you have it!

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