Often eschewed as an unpronounceable additive on ingredient lists, xanthan gum is actually something you'll want to learn about. Typically derived from corn, xanthan gum is produced when a glucose, sucrose, or lactose is fermented by bacteria. The product is a gummy substance (hence the name) that is then dehydrated and ground into powder. Xanthan gum is used as a thickener and stabilizer in recipes and packaged foods from salad dressing to ice cream. When rehydrated by liquid in a recipe, xanthan gum swells to alter the consistency of a product. Due to its ability to make a batter sticky and elastic, xanthan gum is often called for in gluten free baked goods in addition to grain free flour to mimic the development of gluten.
This recipe for a classic sausage gravy swaps flour or cornstarch for xanthan gum. The gum thickens the sauce and keeps it from separating without altering the flavor.
Quick Sausage Gravy
Photo by CAITLIN BENSEl
1 pound sausage (such as breakfast or sage)
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
How to Make It
Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add sausage, and cook, stirring often and breaking up chunks with the back of a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in milk, cream, and hot sauce. Sprinkle with xanthan gum; stir well to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until gravy comes to a boil. Stir in black pepper, and serve immediately.