Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dress Your Potatoes in Mushroom Gravy

My gram made some dang fine gravy.  See my gram was a country girl, from that part of Virginia that seems to skip right over the Carolinas and become Georgia.  She was not squeamish about the gizzards and such.  We all averted our eyes while gram turned the least appealing part of the turkey into the most rich and savory gravy imaginable.

That gravy was the motif of the meal . . . it went on the potatoes (of course), the turkey, the stuffing, and if a little got on the green beans, well all the better.  We even slathered congealed gravy on our leftover turkey sandwiches.  (Hey, I never claimed to come from classy people.  Don't judge.)

Thanksgiving of 1993 was the last time I ate meat.  I'd decided to become a vegetarian a week or so before, but I wanted my gram's gravy one last time.

I expected to mourn gravy, never find a suitable substitute.

Ah, but then I acquired a wonderful cookbook called "Sundays at the Moosewood."  If you're in the market for a vegetarian cookbook, I highly recommend it.  It takes a sort of culinary trip around the world and has provided our family with some of our most beloved dishes.  In the "Great Britain" chapter, you will find a recipe for shepherd's pie.  We made that recipe our own and it became our go-to Thanksgiving meal (a bottom layer of sauteed peas, carrots and cashews, topped with a blanket of mushroom gravy, and then a thick frosting of mashed potatoes).

The whole thing is delish, but it's the mushroom gravy that makes my heart go pitter pat.  Mr. Wendy always requests I make a double batch of the gravy so we have plenty of leftovers.  And once I took a mason jar of the stuff to my gram's for Thanksgiving, and one of my cousins dubbed it "better than grandma's."  (That did not earn him any points with his elders, but I was proud as a peacock for the rest of the meal.)

In any event, this is the recipe for mushroom gravy from "Sundays at the Moosewood."  If you have a vegan or vegetarian at your gathering (or if you're serving beef instead of bird), this may be a great alternative.  Because no one should have to eat naked mashed potatoes.

Cooking Down the 'Shrooms
Mushroom Gravy

2 Tbs. canola oil
3 Tbs. soy sauce
8 - 12 oz. sliced mushrooms (the recipe calls for 8, but I prefer 12)
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth (or the water you used to boil your potatoes)
2 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 c. cold water

Combine the oil, soy sauce, mushrooms, and pepper in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are tender (don't let them cook down too much, because it's nice to have a bit of texture to them).  Add the broth or potato water and bring to a boil.  Slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture, then reduce to a slow boil and continue to cook (stirring often) until the gravy is thick and clear.

Yep, it's that easy.

***  What about you?  Do you make your own gravy or buy it prepared?  Or do you actually prefer your spuds au naturele?  Give me your gravy memories!


  1. I am going to try this recipe. It would be great with pork or venison, too! Thanks for sharing it, Wendy.

    ~ Krista

  2. Wendy, this looks great. Glossy, yummy. Love the size of the mushrooms. And it's gluten-free, too! Yay! Thanks.

    Avery aka Daryl

  3. Gravy is the best! For years I asked my mother to make her fried chicken for my birthday dinner. It took some time, but I finally realized what I really wanted was the gravy she made in the pan the chicken had cooked in (on biscuits)! And mushrooms? Couldn't be better! Thanks

  4. Oh I'm crazy for gravy. I'm pretty sure I have that cookbook tucked away somewhere and will have to find it. I use soy sauce in my turkey gravy too--you've got my mouth watering!

  5. Thanks, all. This really is yummy. I think if you were serving it with a normal meal, you'd want to cut the mushrooms down a little further ... but since dinner that day was nothing but mashed potatoes and gravy, the big mushrooms made it feel heartier. (And, yes, we sometimes just have mashed potatoes for dinner -- I'm no health nut!)