Well, it really feels like Fall all of a sudden. Over here in Canada, Thanksgiving is only a week and a half away and naturally I’m thinking about gravy. More specifically: gravy that’s vegan, make-ahead friendly, and void of any added starches. I make mushroom gravy a bunch of different ways (there’s a great one in my cookbook), but this recipe is special. Typically I go for more of a thin, slightly darker “jus”-like textured gravy. This one here is quite thick and more typical of the holiday dinner tables that I find myself at. It’s slightly creamy, loaded with herbs, melted shallots and garlic, and those critical umami bombs like tamari and miso.
Most importantly, this creamy mushroom gravy is suitable for making ahead! My partner and I are hosting both of our families for the big dinner this year, so make-ahead strategies have been front of mind lately. I now have a whole Evernote notebook dedicated to Thanksgiving with a schedule, collaborative shopping list, and an ever shifting menu page with multiple recipe links under each item. It is all consuming at this stage! Side note: I would get absolutely nothing done without Evernote. It really is my second brain. Not sponsored at all, just real and pure admiration for this app! :)
Anyway, my technique for thickening this gravy is a little different than what I would normally opt for. I use soaked cashews and a russett/baking potato that gets simmered in the mushroom cooking mixture. You know when you over-mix mashed potatoes and they get super gluey and sticky? That’s exactly what we’re going for here. You blend the cooked potato chunks with the cashews and some of the cooking liquid and it gets ridiculously thick. Then you mix that starchy goodness back in with the mushrooms for a thick gravy without added cornstarch, arrowroot etc. This method results in a thick, slightly concentrated mushroom soup in essence (but it’s still unmistakably a GRAVY, don’t worry), and that’s exactly why it reheats beautifully. Starches can be unpredictable when reheated and sometimes even have the adverse effect of thinning the finished product.
So yeah! We grate the shallots and microplane the garlic so that they “melt” into the gravy. I really wanted to avoid any need for straining, so this extra step is crucial! Not much more to say about this beautiful beige-brown mess of a food, other than the fact that it’s completely delicious and it embodies everything my gravy dreams are made of. See my recipe headnotes for notes on making ahead and re-heating. And don’t forget that I have all of my best holiday-appropriate recipes RIGHT HERE for you. Hugs and love :)
THICK AND CREAMY MUSHROOM GRAVY WITH SHALLOTS & HERBS
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: For a more intense mushroom flavour, simmer the vegetable stock with the mushroom stems for 20 minutes beforehand. Strain before proceeding with the recipe.
-I went with commonly available cremini and portobello mushrooms. You can use any type you like.
-Since we thicken the gravy with potato and cashews, this recipe is make-ahead friendly! Keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days in advance. To reheat, add a few splashes of stock to the gravy in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat. You will also need to stir it frequently, scraping the bottom of the pot often to avoid sticking. Add more vegetable stock if the gravy still seems too thick.
-I grate both the shallots and the garlic so that they can more easily disappear/”melt” into the gravy
1 tablespoon avocado oil
⅓ cup grated shallots (3 medium shallots grated on the large holes of a box grater)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
5 fresh sage leaves, minced
2 lbs mushrooms, caps sliced 1/4 “ thick (see headnote re: stems)
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3 cloves garlic, finely grated on a microplane
2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mellow miso
3 ½ cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
1 russett/baking potato, peeled and cut into 4 even quarters
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
Heat the oil in a wide, braiser-style (or dutch oven) pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the shallots to the pot and stir. Cook the shallots, stirring frequently, until translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme and sage to the pot and stir.
Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and let them sit for a full minute. Stir the mushrooms up, coating them in the shallots and herbs. Let the mushrooms sit for another full minute. Then, stir the mushrooms and season with pepper. Keep stirring the mushrooms here and there as they cook. Once the mushrooms are glistening, after about 3 minutes, season them with salt. Keep stirring the mushrooms until they are deep brown and slightly soft, about 2 more minutes.
Add the garlic to the pot and stir. Then, add the tamari, balsamic vinegar, and miso to the pot as well. Stir everything and scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the vegetable stock to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the mushroom mixture up to a boil.
Submerge the pieces of potato in the mushroom and vegetable stock mixture. Lower the heat to a strong simmer and place the lid on top. Simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 20-25 minutes. When poked with a knife, the pieces of potato should slide right off.
Remove the potato pieces from the mushroom mixture with a slotted spoon and transfer them to an upright, high speed blender. Add the cashews to the blender. Carefully ladle out 1 cup of liquid from the pot of mushrooms and transfer it to the blender. Blend the potato, cashews and liquid on high until completely smooth and thick, about 30 seconds.
Pour the pureed potato and cashew mixture back into the pot with the mushrooms. Stir until you have a creamy mixture. It will look weird at first, but it does come together. Keep stirring until the gravy comes up to a boil. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon quite well. Check for seasoning one more time and adjust if needed. Serve the thick creamy mushroom gravy with mashed potatoes or other accompaniments of choice.