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Chapter: Cooked Sauces, Gravies, and Thickening Tips
Section: Thickening Tips
Recipe: Thickening Sauces, Stews etc.

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Thickening Sauces, Stews etc.
1. Arrowroot. I don't use this. I could, I suppose, just that it's very
carb high. [Richard Geller]

Using arrowroot shouldn't be a problem in moderation and small amounts.  I
myself wouldn't use it on a regular bases though for the same reason you
don't use it. [Patti Vincent]

2. Nuts. Ground up, they were used in the middle ages to thicken sauces.
Get out those middle age cookbooks. I tried making a pesto from pine
nuts, roasted garlic and cilantro, but it didn't really thicken a broth
very well (perhaps need more pine nuts?) [Richard Geller]

I would think nuts would make sauces a bit grainy but I've never tried to
use pine nuts myself. Maybe sauces made with nuts would just need to be
cooked down for longer periods of time to thicken. Just a guess. I used to
use carrots grated very fine in tomato sauces to help the thickening
process. Depending on the sauce I suppose other vegetables could be
steamed, mashed or riced and added to sauces for thickening.... Broccoli,
cauliflower, brussel sprouts etc. [Patti Vincent]

3. Here's an interesting one: squash. I thickened a chicken curry with
squash and it worked great. [Richard Geller]

4. Gelatine, demi glace, etc. make stock and reduce it, it will thicken
and have great flavor [Richard Geller]

5. Tomatoes, ground up. I am not eating tomatoes much these days as I
think they cause me problems. I used to use them quite a bit to thicken
things. [Richard Geller]

6. Kuzu root starch is used in macrobiotic cooking. It is a superior 
quality thickener. I do not know if kuzu root is edible raw but I do know 
that it is gluten free. I use this together with gelatin to make a 
delicious gravy, which is totally lump-free and not at all starchy tasting.
[Stacie Tolen]

7. Coconut milk is a great thickener for shakes, smoothies, etc. and also 
for curry. Pumpkin curry is a thick and hearty fall/winter supper.
[Stacie Tolen]

8. I discovered WAY back, when trying to get people to eat vegetables, that
using a lot of onions, carrots, celery while cooking a roast or chicken, 
then blending the softened veggies together with the broth made a delicious 
thick gravy that anybody would eat. A Vitamix works great for this. I guess 
you could try the same method with sweet things as well - fiber-rich 
fruits, with juices. [Holly Krahe]

9. Besides kuzu and arrowroot, I go to the Oriental grocery and purchase 
dried powdered white yam flour and sometimes dried acorn flour. They are 
neutral in flavor. For a sweet flavor, you can use chestnut flour. Mix them
off heat in cold water to make a paste, and then slowly stir them into your
sauce, soup, etc. I don't worry about the carb content, because a little
goes a long way, especially when it becomes lost in a large pot of soup.
Also, I'm sure aboriginals used ground acorns, chestnuts and tubers to make
porridges, so in my kitchen, they are paleo. [Judy Genova]