Besides cheese and my mom’s potato soup, what is one thing I have mourned the loss of since eating vegan? I missed gravy. I am the gravy maker for our big Thanksgiving meals. I am adept at creating this magical potion to add deliciousness to the most ordinary foods. It’s more of an art than science. A throw it together, add a bit of this and a bit of that kind of operation. And adding a helping of this instantly morphs any dish into comfort food.
Creating gravy is a process that it quite forgiving, really. It’s a mix of fat, flour, and broth. You can also sauté veggies like onions and mushrooms to add flavor and texture to the gravy. So simple. So good!
In honor of the art of the process, here’s my guide, rather than recipe, to making gravy:
- Oil or vegan butter (roughly 2T. I like olive oil)
- Flour (roughly 1T. I use a heaping normal spoonful from my silverware)
- Vegetable broth
- Spices (salt, pepper, onion salt, thyme, umami are all good choices!)
- Optional: onions, mushrooms, peppers cut to desired size for sautéing
- If you are adding veggies to your gravy, cook these first! Sauté over medium heat in a bit of your fat of choice and a bit of salt in a non-stick frying pan. Once caramelized/browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
- To the same pan over medium heat, add your fat of choice and allow to warm or melt. Add the flour, sprinkling over the surface of the pan, and STIR. A non-stick whisk works well here, but if you don’t have one, use a spatula safe for your pan. The trick is to keep things moving in order to form a roux. If your mix seems dry, add a bit more fat. Allow to cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. It should look like a thick, bubbly mixture, almost like a thin pancake batter.
- Add your broth, about a half cup at a time, stirring frequently. If you’ve ever made risotto, the adding of the broth is similar; add a bit, see how the mixture thickens. The flour will continue to cook and thicken as you add broth. You want your gravy to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but thin enough to drip off of your spatula. (For this batch of gravy, I added about 3 cups of liquid between broth and water, as my mix had become too salty!)
- Problem solving: taste your gravy. Is it salty enough? No? Add a bit more salt. Add your other desired spices to taste. Too salty? Add water. Not thick enough? Mix about a tsp. of flour with about 1/3 cup water until smooth, and slowly add this mixture to your gravy while stirring constantly.
- Once your gravy is your desired thickness, return the veggies to the gravy. Stir to combine. You may need to add more liquid to the mix once the veggies return.
- Serve over your favorite carbs, protein, and/or veggies!
If you try making your own gravy, let me know how it goes! Hope you are all safe and healthy.