Mushroom Gravy for Everyone

Mushroom Gravy for Everyone

Ahoy Foodies!

Well, it’s upon us. The big day. The Feast. I’ve been running around like mad testing recipes for a story I’m doing on butterflying high-ticket roasts, interviewing Dorie Greenspan for an article, moving back into our brand new kitchen, throwing impromptu dinner parties to show off said kitchen (and get rid of said high-ticket roasts), and then suddenly out of the blue, someone from OPB calls and asks if I’d like to be on Think Outloud to talk about Thanksgiving in mixed diet households. 

Thanksgiving??  I totally spaced that it was coming up next week. Eek!  The day is a bit tricky in our house for several reasons. For one, as all you culinarians out there know,  expectations for your cooking run very high among your family and friends. You can feel the pressure, can’t you? Lumpy gravy? Coming from a professional’s kitchen? Never! And everything simply must come out of the kitchen steaming hot, seasoned correctly,  and Martha Stewart-perfect. Otherwise they’ll all be mumbling during the post-feast car ride home about how you might be loosing it…you know, burnt out, out of ideas, not really all that afterall, a fake.

And then there’s the dietary restrictions of all the orphans I’ve invited to our table. One friend isn’t doing dairy or wheat anymore. And a vegan friend might drop by, “just for a bite.” And then there’s Mr. Tofu, of course. He won’t be partaking in the turkey, the meaty stuffing (I just make a big batch of veggie stuffing, set some aside for him and then put turkey stock and sausage in the larger portion for the rest of us), and he’d rather suck on wet leaves than eat my turkey gravy. 

Gravy is tough, because just like the rug in the Big Lebowski, “it really ties the whole room together”.  Or meal, in this case. So for years, I’ve been perfecting this very special mushroom gravy for Mr. Tofu, and my other veggie friends. It’s vegetarian (vegan if you use oil), wheat free, and positively bursting with big, deep, bold flavors. Most of the meat eaters at my table love it, too. Who wouldn’t love a rich sauce with velvety mushrooms, good Oregon Pinot Noir, and loads of umami?  So here it is, the gravy that might just lead to peace at your dinner table. Make it a few days in advance, reheat it at the last minute, and watch as everyone at the table begs for a spoonful.

Wild Mushroom-Pinot Noir Gravy
Serves 6
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 1/2 cup boiling water for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons butter or mild olive oil
3 tablespoons minced shallots
8 ounces (4 cups) wild (or shiitake with stems removed) mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup Pinot Noir wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup homemade roasted mushroom stock, or store-bought
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Good quality soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
 Remove the porcini mushrooms from their soaking liquid, finely chop, and set aside. Reserve the soaking liquid.
Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until they just begin to brown, 2 minutes. Add the sliced wild mushrooms, sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and thyme, and sauté, stirring only once, until the mushrooms are browned and have given off their liquid, about 4 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the wine, and simmer, scraping any browned bits on the bottom of the pan until the wine has almost evaporated, 1 minute. Add the chopped porcini mushrooms, 1/2 cup of their soaking liquid (sans grit), tomato paste, and stock and bring to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes.  Combine the cornstarch and the water in a small bowl, stir into the gravy, and simmer until bubbly, 1 minute. Season with soy sauce and pepper, reduce heat to low.  Cover, and keep warm until ready to use. The gravy can be made up to 3 days in advance. Reheat gently over low heat, adding additional mushroom stock, if necessary.

8 Responses to Mushroom Gravy for Everyone

  1. Carrie November 19, 2010 at 7:19 PM #

    Congrats on all of the wonderful opportunities coming your way!! This gravy looks delicious and I have your MIX article on my counter opened to your “Thanksgiving checklist.” Thank you for that. It’s definitely keeping me organized.

  2. Ivy November 19, 2010 at 7:25 PM #

    You’re most welcome, Carrie. Rest assured I’ll have that MIX checklist out too. I’m serving 9 or so this year! Eek!

  3. Jill November 19, 2010 at 11:59 PM #

    Thanks Ivy. I heard you on the radio this morning and your mushroom gravy recipe sounds like the perfect solution for our mixed food family Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to try it out. I’ve already told others about it as well.

  4. make my day November 22, 2010 at 12:40 AM #

    this gravy sounds positively ‘show stopping’! No thanks giving dinners down this way, but definitely keeping it on hand for the madness of christmas lunch. cheers kari

  5. Ivy November 23, 2010 at 3:00 AM #

    Hi Kari!

    How are things down in sunny Australia these days? I so envy you your Christmas lunches…I read about them in the Aussie mags and just drool!
    Have you done any tacos since you got back?

  6. Ivy November 23, 2010 at 3:02 AM #

    Oops, I guess you’re not the Kari we met in Baja this summer, eh? Thanks for reading, it’s so cool to think there’s folks all the way in Australia reading!

  7. dp November 23, 2010 at 7:12 PM #

    Thanksgiving sort of snuck up on me this year too. Or rather, I just took a passive position to it, then all of a sudden, there were only a handful of days left.

    Anyhow, I’ll be doing a mushroom gravy as well. I think I’m look forward to that more than the actual turkey.

  8. Dinners and Dreams January 15, 2011 at 12:27 AM #

    Mushroom gravy makes everything taste more delicious. I especially like it on beef and chicken.


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