Thanksgiving dinner typically isn't a particularly virtuous meal, but there are simple ways to lighten the load. Gravy is a good place to start.
Gravy is traditionally made by browning flour in the fatty drippings left in the pan from the roasted turkey — clearly not a low-fat technique. Fortunately there are other ways to make gravy that don't require all the fat.
An excellent choice for fat-free thickening is a quick mixing or instant flour, such as Wondra. This product is a finely milled, low-gluten flour that can be added to hot or cold liquids. Wondra makes a smooth gravy, similar to those made with flour and fat, and almost never develops lumps. Use about 2 tablespoons for each cup of liquid to be thickened.
Of course, because fat adds flavor, low-fat gravies can end up bland if you don't alter your recipe a bit.
Making your own turkey broth from the giblets or using the defatted drippings from the roasting pan are good ways to keep the flavors vibrant. You also can add other taste boosters, such as herbs or even pureed, roasted garlic.
This citrus-miso gravy gets a complex, savory character from the addition of sweet, white miso paste, which is made from fermented soy beans and can be found at most grocers near where tofu is sold. The salty, mellow miso complements the flavor of chicken or turkey broth and is well-balanced by the brightness of dry white wine and a touch of orange zest.
How to make it
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Makes about 4 cups
2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet white miso
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Ground black pepper, to taste
In a large saute pan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and saute until caramelized and golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the flour, miso and white wine, then bring to a simmer, whisking and scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 1 cup of the broth and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining broth and the zest. Whisk vigorously, then cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Season with the black pepper.
Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 19 calories; 8 calories from fat (42 percent of total calories); 1 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 43 mg sodium.