I love Thanksgiving and I love the food that goes along with it. The truth is, maybe I just love fall food. I have a bit of an affinity to wild rice and roasted Brussels and creamy sweet potatoes and tart cranberry sauce and… gravy.
But not just any gravy. And certainly not gravy that is made from “drippings”, which mask themselves in a clever name but really it’s just disgusting fat.
Yes, I know fat is good. Frankly, I know fat is great. I love it. I love brazil nuts and mashed avocados in the form of guacamole and I’m addicted to tahini and adore coconut milk and am thrilled that nut butter exist.
But fat from an animal? No thanks.
Even when I wasn’t a vegan, I was always the one who hated the fat. I sliced every bit of fat off of my meat. I shredded my bacon to just eat the meat (though I know that some folks in my family would lap up that bacon fat in an instant). I never ate sausage – with those chewy fat bits. Blah. Disgusting.
But when I shove my spoon in a jar of creamy ground nuts, seeds, or peanuts. Ooh. Bliss.
Okay, but this isn’t about nut butters. Though I think it should be, come to think about it. I have a lot of recipes up in this noggin’ featuring them. One of my favourites? Scooping in a huge dollop of tahini in your favourite tomato soup.
Okay, but this isn’t about nut butters. (Yes, I realize I already said that, but, you know, I’m trying to actually believe it).
Okay, so I’m talking about how I hate animal fat and gravy is made with that… but come to think about it, it doesn’t really have to do with my gravy recipe because there isn’t really any fat in it.
I like to pour this gravy on everything I can get my hands on. I also like to ditch the rice flour, add a little more vegetables, stir in some cashew butter (woo!) and make it a soup.
I never use rice flour in my baking – it is nutritionally void, has a terrible texture – but I do like it for thickening. It is really smooth and works well in pretty much everything. Though I’ve started using coconut flour, too, which is nice. You can swap out the rice flour for your favourite thickener.
Even though it isn’t noted in the recipe, I also like using sage, poultry seasoning, and other fresh herbs. This is just a good base, and then from here, do whatever the heck you want.
Since you’re starting from scratch, add enough salt to really bring forward the flavor, or it will be pretty bland. Preferably a wonderful grey sea salt that hails from France (well, Costco) that makes food come to a whole new level. Grey sea salt rocks my socks.
Three Mushroom Gravy
A thick, earthy gravy, rich with the flavour of dried and fresh mushrooms. The versatility of this recipe allows for flexibility in flavour, seasonings and tastes. Add your favourite herbs, puree it smooth, make it thick or thin. There is loads of room for experimentation.
1 0.5 ounce/14g package dried morel mushrooms
6 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound white button mushrooms
1 pound cremini mushrooms
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
Additional water, if needed
3 tablespoons sweet rice flour, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Put the dried mushrooms in a large bowl (with a capacity of at least 6 cups). Top with the boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms, and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until mushrooms are golden brown. Add the shallots. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about a minute longer.
Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving both the mushrooms and the liquid. Chop the mushrooms, and add to the pot along with the soaking water and the thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15 minutes.
If you are using broth for the stuffing, take 2 1/2 cups of the liquid out of the pot. Remove the thyme stems. Insert an immersion blender and pulse the mixture about 6 to 8 times. If the mixture has become too thick, add additional water. Adjust seasonings. Whisk in sweet rice flour, and simmer until thickened. Depending on how thick you may like your gravy, you can add more water and sweet rice flour to suit your tastes.