Recipe: Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

I made this for Thanksgiving, since I don't eat turkey but I need some gravy on my potatoes and stuffing (non bird stuffing, of course) and green bean caserole, etc.

Mushroom Vegetarian Gravy

1/2 cup finely chopped baby portabella mushrooms
1 minced garlic clove
1 veggie boullion cube, mushed up
1/2 tbs butter (vegetable oil if you're vegan)
1 tbs evoo
2 tbs flour
2 c. water (preferably the drained water from the carrots or squash that you boiled as part of the meal prep, for added flavor)
1/2 tsp gravy master
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Add butter and evoo to sauce pan. Heat pan to med high heat. As butter begins to melt and get hot, add garlic and mushrooms. Stir. After oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms are well incorporated, add mushed up boullion cube. Stir often until mushrooms begin to tender. Sprinkle flour over mixture, slowly, constantly stirring. Add 3/4 cup of water and spices & gravy master. Stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Once gravy begins to bubble, reduce heat. When settled, check for consistency.

If too thick - increase heat, add more water (eyeball it), bring to a boil then simmer over low heat. Note that gravy will thicken upon standing.

If too thin - in a small jar with lid, mix 1 tbs flour, 1/4 c boiling water. Slowly pour in starchy water into gravy mixture, mixing well. Bring to boil then simmer over low heat.

Serve while hot for best taste and consistency.

Note: The trick with a good vegetarian gravy is that you have to find a way to simulate the "pan drippings" start of a standard gravy. This comes from a mix of hearty flavors - in this case portabello mushrooms, vegetable boullion cube and garlic - and some sort of fat - in this case, part butter, part evoo. This gravy recipe isn't "smooth" like a standard gravy because its base consists of chopped mushrooms. However, if chopped finely, and once thoroughly cooked, the "lumps" aren't too bad and the gravy adds great flavor to your dinner. It's also a little less fatty.

Substitutions/ variations: If you're not a fan of mushroom, other hearty flavored veggies will also work, like shallots, onion, carrot (though this is far more mild), or just plain garlic. You can also add red or white wine to the beginning veggie sauteeing stage. Wait until the alcholo has burned off before adding the flour, water, etc.

And this is the end to the gravy lessons learned over 17 years of vegetarian holiday feasting.

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