I will admit that one of my favorite comfort foods is stew. Now that I am strictly paleo, I will not use corn starch or flour to thicken the broth. Any ideas how to thicken up broth with out using a grain?
Make sure you use broth from bones, and you can always let it boil for a little while so it thickens on its own. That's what I usually do.
Non grain thickeners: Tapioca starch or arrowroot - both pure root vegetable starches.
Or potato starch (or potatoes or other root veggie like parsnip - cooked and mashed)
Easy to make a 'gravy' for your stew.
While cooking your stew, toss in a few onions (2-3) whole
then take out some of the liquid/broth when its about ready, 4 cup'ish (most of the liquid), remove the onions
liquify it and put back in the pot to cook it down. Usually with the good stuff from bones you can get the gravy to almost gel like a gravy. I do it with chicken all the time.
For a creamy gravy, just add some paleo sour cream (I make from my yogurt).
Tapioca starch works great. It takes a small amount--you'll have to google the substitution rate. Use it the same way as corn starch: mix with cold water until totally dissolved, then stir into the stew and bring to boil. It actually works better than corn starch, which breaks down after prolonged heating or refrigeration. Be careful not to use to much, because tapioca starch can get rubbery/stringy. Start with a little--you can always add more. Once it's in there, you're stuck.
Or you can borrow a technique from pureed soups, and remove a couple cups of the finished stew vegetables/liquid to a blender, puree, then add back to the pot. Any root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, etc.--even the aromatics like celery and onion--work really well this way.
I'm not a fan of gelatin as a thickener for hot things, because gelatin is really only thick as it cools. It's pretty watery when hot.
I'm also not a fan of using reduction on a soup or stew--I find it makes their flavor much too concentrated for my taste. Reduction works best for sauces, where you want powerful, well-developed flavor in a small amount of liquid.
Some ideas to thicken up stews depending on the flavor you want:
2) tomato paste
3) 100% canned pumpkin - even a starchier squash like acorn and butternut will do
4) sweet potato starch
5) potato starch
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