Now that flour and cornstarch are out, how do you thicken sauces and gravies? I have the answer!
There are two key grain-free, gluten-free flour substitutes that will help our sauces take shape: arrowroot starch and tapioca flour. Tapioca comes from a cassava root and arrowroot comes from the arrowroot plant (big shocker there), which is found in tropical regions. You’ve probably used these ingredients a time or two already to give baked goods elasticity.
Not only are they great in Paleo baked goods and tortillas, arrowroot starch and tapioca flour naturally add viscosity to liquids. The catch? They don’t combine well with liquid on their own. You might find that arrowroot and tapioca gel up instead of dissolve, and turn into little chewy blobs before you can get them mixed. Quite frustrating. Not only does your sauce not thicken, but now you have little gel bits floating around in your meal. Thanks, but no thanks.
I had an idea recently that solves this problem. The method will melt arrowroot or tapioca into liquid while adding flavor, perfectly dissolve the flours into your recipe without clumps, and successfully thicken liquids to turn them into a silky sauce or smooth gravy.
Enter: Lard Manie… or “manipulated lard” in French. Though Lard Manie (man-YAY) sounds so much cooler.
Instead of using butter, which is the traditional Buerre Manie preparation, we’re going to use lard from pasture-raised pigs. (I like this brand when I’m not able to render it myself.) Tallow, duck fat, and butter (of course) can also be used in place of the lard with this method.
The steps are the same as preparing traditional Buerre Manie: simply work the fat and the flour into a smooth paste. It’s so easy to do! I like to use the back of a spoon and a wide bowl for this.
Good to know! The ingredients used in this method (lard with arrowroot or tapioca) are not only Whole30 friendly, but are also approved foods for the autoimmune protocol!
To make the Lard Manie, I use 2 to 3 tablespoons of arrowroot or tapioca for 1 tablespoon of lard, unlike the traditional method which calls for equal parts butter to flour.
- Start with a tablespoon of cold, firm lard
- Add 2 tablespoons of arrowroot or tapioca into the bowl
- Use the back of a spoon to work the two ingredients into a smooth paste
- If more arrowroot/tapioca is desired, add an additional tablespoon at this point and continue to work until it is smooth again
The stages will like a little bit like this:
Make as much or as little as you need! If you’d like to keep some on hand for quick cooking, just store the Lard Manie in an air-tight container in the refrigerator according to the expiration date of the fat used.
To use in a recipe, simply add the indicated measurement of Lard Manie in lieu of the flour. It will behave just the way the flour would — with exception of the awkward clumping that can sometimes occur.
Heads up! If you have a copy of The Frugal Paleo Cookbook, definitely use this method to make the Beef Stroganoff and Orange Cashew Chicken recipes.