Depending on where you live, "Biscuits and Gravy" may conjure up a different memory for you. It may be one with sausage, or even with a touch of maple syrup, but either way, the premise is much the same: Take a meat, fry it and add a milk/flour gravy, then dress it up to suit your taste. Growing up in the northern midwest, my Scandinavian grandmother made what we called "Bread and Gravy" by frying salt pork bits and then making a milk/flour gravy. It was served on fresh bread or toast and heavily salted & peppered. Oh.... comfort food!
With the help of other moms who've been treading the grain free path and are generous with sharing their recipes and tips, I have been able to recreate this childhood comfort food. I caught wind of using cashews to make a gravy base, tasted it and KNEW it was possible! Here you go:
3 cups leftover turkey meat, chopped (mostly dark meat)
3 T. vegetable shortening (for frying)
salt & pepper
2 cups cashews
1 chicken bullion cube (equal to 1 tsp. granules, make sure it is dairy, gluten free)
~ 1/2 cup frozen peas
1/8 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika (I added this mostly for color since the cashew gravy is VERY white/pale, if you have standard paprika and think it would be too strong or if you're out of paprika, feel free to omit this)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg to taste
1. Put the cashews into a bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak for 1-2 hours and then drain. You CAN make this without soaking the nuts, but I would only recommend doing so if you have a Vitamix. Using a food processor and nuts soaked for 1 hour, my gravy didn't have a perfectly smooth texture, but with the other ingredients added in and served over rice it wasn't distracting for us. UPDATE: Try this QUICK-SOAK method to have your cashews soft in about 20 minutes! (I omitted the optional lemon juice.)
2. Fry the chopped turkey meat on medium to low in vegetable shortening in a large frying pan with high sides (you'll be adding the gravy to this pan later). You don't want to fry the meat until it is crisp or browned, you want to heat it well enough that the fat/oils come out of the dark meat and the aroma of turkey fills your kitchen. Salt & pepper heavily and stir occasionally. If you're worried it's drying the meat out, add a little more shortening and turn it on low while you prep the gravy.
3. Drain the water off the soaking cashews, and put the nuts into your food processor (or Vitamix) with 1 cup water and 1 bullion cube. Process very well, checking consistency every minute or so. The smoother the better, but I couldn't achieve a perfectly smooth texture and it worked fine for us anyway. I think I processed mine around 4 minutes total, scraping down the sides a couple times.
4. Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the turkey, and then stir in the cashew mixture. Stir in frozen peas, paprika (optional), and nutmeg. If you would like a thinner gravy, stir in a bit more water gradually to achieve desired thickness. Now you are just cooking the peas and heating the gravy through. Serve over rice, biscuits, bread or toast.
*Note: I have heard from a friend that this cashew gravy freezes well, but I will warn you from experience that it doesn't taste very good cold ;) Also, I have never tried soaking the nuts for over 2 hours and heard from a little birdie that they may gain an undesirable texture (cashews in particular), so try that at your own risk!