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Arrowroot starch to thicken sauces and reductions? If so, how much?

by 12108 · September 25, 2010 at 05:06 PM

Is arrowroot starch paleo? If so, I'd like to occasionally use it to thicken sauces and reductions. Last night I made a white wine butter reduction to pour over a shrimp/asparagus/spaghetti squash dish, but if I made it in the future (say for company), I'd love to have it be a little more luxuriously thick.

How much arrowroot starch would be good to use for a simmering pan of 2-3 cups of broth?

If arrowroot starch doesn't work, what paleo friendly options for thickening sauces exist?

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6 Replies

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283 · September 25, 2010 at 05:06 PM

What about small amounts of potato starch? I remember seeing it in a store and passed it by because it was un-Paleo 'potato'.

I usually make a pan sauce 'French' style by removing what was in the pan adding water , stock ,lemon juice or wine to cook the yummy brown pan scrapings . Cook down WHILE STIRRING , turn off heat and immediately swirl in a lump of COLD butter to make a creamy sauce. Be sure it is OFF the heat to get the effect of cold butter.

My fav is pan fried chicken with pan sauce made with lemon juice and tarragon added ~S

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1959 · September 23, 2010 at 09:41 PM

I use arrowroot when I make a berry crisp, to thicken the berry mixture. I bake a layer of just the berries (maybe with vanilla/cinnamon) for ~20 mins and then stir in maybe 1-2 tsp of arrowroot starch before I add and bake the topping.

For a couple cups of broth, I would say at least a couple of tablespoons, and add near the end. Apparently it loses thickening potency after continued simmering.

I also have some of this on hand for when I need something more flour-like: http://www.carbsmart.com/dixiethick.html Not exactly paleo in spirit but it takes a tiny amount and makes a huge difference.

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12108 · September 23, 2010 at 08:47 PM

With thanks to lkco's link to the panu forum - where contributor Hannah noted:

"You may want to look at Arrowroot powder too. You basically add it to your sauce 10 minutes before you want it done, stir constantly and as soon as it thickens, stop stirring and remove from heat. Traditional French cooks use it for sauces when no added flavor is desired, as flour based roux or other thickeners can alter the flavor of a sauce. It's tasteless and odorless. It is often used as the main ingredient in biscuits or crackers for babies, as it is easy to digest. Arrowroot is essentially benign health-wise."

Though I'm still looking for quantity tips for adding to a couple of cups' worth of sauce -A teaspoon? Heaping tablespoons?

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20469 · September 24, 2010 at 02:52 AM

I picked up some xanthan gum a while back and occasionally use it in a pinch. Often I try to reduce via heat, but sometimes it ends up too runny but cooking more risks overcooking something and making it too rubbery. Usually, I try to make the sauce alone so I have less of this problem. ANyway, I've had good luck with the xanthan gum. Thickens well and has no flavor of its own. You only need a little bit. Healthwise, it shouldn't make much impact. Those with serious gluten allergies might want to avoid because if the xanthan gum is processed in a place where grains were processed, then it could have trace amounts of the grains in it.

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2264 · September 23, 2010 at 08:16 PM

To be frank, having done some experimentation around this, I mostly use cornstarch. A tablespoon or so spread over a dish serving 4-5 people doesn't seem like enough to be worrying about. (I don't use wheat flour, though, even in tiny quantities... gluten is not our friend.)

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