Gravy has never been high on my priority list. I’ve long preferred homemade cranberry sauce on my potatoes at a Thanksgiving feast. But I do have one use for gravy: poutine.
My husband is a fan of this classic Canadian dish, but I rarely get a taste because it typically features a beef-based gravy. So after seeing his eyes light up once too often when a menu listed poutine, I had to create my own with homegrown oven-fried potatoes and homemade, squeaky cheddar curds. If I’m making fresh cheese curds from scratch, I need a gravy worthy of my effort.
That’s how I ended up with this vegetarian mushroom version that gravy fans will want to pour over their turkey, mashed potatoes and of course, french fries. There’s no need to mess with turkey or roast dripping here. Mushrooms give plenty of umami, boosted by a little wine and soy sauce. I use Homemade Vegetable Stock, which doesn’t overpower the mushrooms. If you’re using a denser store-bought broth, you may want to replace up to a cup of it with water.
The herbs I chose for this recipe are standard in my kitchen and pair well with the mushrooms, but you could replace them with sage, thyme and marjoram or a DIY Herb Blend. I typically use cremini mushrooms for this hearty gravy but sometimes swap in portobellos or another hearty variety.
The gravy can be made in advance but will thicken slightly as it cools. A little water or vegetable stock thins it out, and a little flour or cornstarch (whisked first with a splash of cold water) thickens it further. Return it to a simmer after such adjustments.
Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy
Makes about 3 cups
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup minced yellow or white onion
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
Pinch of dried rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 lemon, or about 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for about three minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, stir in the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for about three minutes, until the mushrooms soften. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute.
Return the heat to medium-low; slowly add the vegetable stock and wine or water, stirring or whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Stir in the soy sauce, oregano, parsley and rosemary. Bring the gravy to a simmer and cook for about two minutes, until it starts to thicken.
Reduce the heat to low, add pepper to taste and cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently, until thick. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and squeeze or pour in the lemon juice. Remove the gravy from the heat and serve.
Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.
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