Vegetable Gravy

The reason for this recipe is you may be searching for a vegetarian/vegan gravy for the Thanksgiving table, like I was. Maybe you or someone you know doesn’t do turkey but will still eat the mashed potatoes and dressing and wants a flavorful gravy to accompany them.  Chances are the person not eating turkey isn’t going to eat turkey gravy, either.  That would be me anyway.  So I tried this recipe the other day to see if it would be worth repeating for Thanksgiving dinner.

My verdict is yes.  It is velvety textured as promised and the flavor, with some minor additions, has the depth you’d expect from a holiday gravy.  The bonus, especially for those eating a low fat diet, is there is only 1 tablespoon of fat used in the preparation.  Even that can be eliminated if necessary without affecting the flavor. This is not the normal gravy we are accustomed to.

Appearing in the December 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times, the thickener used in this gravy is a russet potato. If you have ever made a potato vichyssoise, you know how a potato seems to disappear into the liquid while at the same time thickening the soup. That is how it works in the gravy, too.  The beauty is, using the potato means lump free gravy. Even when it is reheated.

Make the gravy today or tomorrow or wait until Thursday.  Double the recipe if you need more than a couple of cups for your gravy boat.

I have added the dried shiitake mushrooms, tamari and balsamic vinegar.  All three enhance flavor.

Vegetable & Herb Gravy

adapted from Vegetarian Times, December 2012 

2  8-ounce russet potatoes

12 button or crimini mushrooms

3  carrots, cut into chunks

3  celery stalks, cut into chunks

1  medium to large onion

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon tomato paste

8  cups water

4  sprigs fresh parsley

4  sprigs thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme

2  sprigs fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

2  sprigs fresh marjoram or 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

2  sprigs fresh sage or 1 tsp. dried rubbed sage

2  bay leaves

12  peppercorns

1-2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms (a scant half cup)

2  tablespoons tamari

1  tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Take out your dutch oven or another large oven-to-stovetop pot. Quarter 1 of the potatoes and put it in the pot along with the mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Toss with the olive oil. Roast for at least 30 minutes. I roasted my vegetables in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The edges of the vegetables will turn a deep brown.

Remove your pot from the oven and put it on the stove.  Add wine, tomato paste and the water. Stir. Next, add the fresh or dried herbs, bay leaves, peppercorns and dried shiitake mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Turn off heat and let stand for at least 10 minutes. 30 doesn’t hurt.

Strain the liquid. I mean really squeeze the juice out of the vegetables. Discard the solids. Peel and dice the remaining potato. Pour the broth back in the pot. Add the potato, tamari and vinegar. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.  Simmer another 30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to a little over 2 plus cups. Blend in a blender, food processor or by using an immersion blender in the pot. Strain if you want. I chose not to. Correct seasoning if needed.

Reheat before serving.

I apologize for how spread out the recipe appears. When I tried to type the ingredients in columns, the words started scrambling so I had to go back to a single file format.

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