Wild Mushroom Gravy

Use any mushrooms you like here…portobellos, cremini, chanterelles, or even white buttons. Wild ones taste best. A touch of marsala wine brings some depth and acidity to the shrooms. To thicken this gravy, we use a slurry instead of a roux. It’s just easier.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chopped rosemary and/or thyme
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large king oyster mushrooms
  • 6 large cremini (baby Bella or chestnut) mushrooms
  • 6 oz (170 g) shemiji (beech) mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Marsala wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup (42 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • About 2 1/2 cup (600 ml) cold vegetable stock
  • 5 Tbsp plant-based butter

 

You can use dried herbs instead of fresh ones. Just use half as much.
Add a touch of maple syrup or even a little cider vinegar to emphasize the sweet and acidic flavors here.

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion, then mince the garlic and herbs. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent, about 3 minutes. Cut the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and herbs, and let cook for a few minutes, stirring now and then. It’s good to add hardy herbs like rosemary and thyme early in the cooking process, even if they’re fresh. That gives them time to release their flavor.
  2. Remove the stems from the oyster mushrooms by cutting crosswise about halfway down the stem. We’re only using the caps and a little of the stem here. Save the rest of the stems for mushroom stock or another dish. Slice the mushrooms lengthwise about 1/4″ thick so you see the mushroom cap and stem in each slice. Slice the cremini mushrooms the same way. For the shemejis, trim off the tough bottoms of the clusters so each mushroom separates from the cluster, but otherwise, leave each shemeji whole.
  3. Add all the mushrooms to the pan, adding a touch more oil if the pan is dry. Cook until the mushrooms shrink down a bit and the onions start to caramelize, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring now and then. You should see a brown film (fond) start to form on the pan bottom. That’s flavor, baby.
  4. Add the marsala to deglaze (dissolve) the fond and pick up all that flavor in your gravy. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once it’s simmering, cut the heat to medium and simmer gently. By simmering, you’re evaporating the liquid and reducing it, which concentrates all the flavors. Season with salt and pepper then let the gravy simmer gently until the liquid reduces in volume by a little more than half, 5 to 7 minutes. The pan should almost go dry.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, nooch, and 3 Tbsp of the cold stock in a small bowl to make a slurry. It should be smooth and free of lumps (that’s why the stock needs to be cold; if the stock is warm, it’ll cook the flour and make the slurry lumpy).
  6. Now, add the remaining stock to the pan, bump up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then cut the heat to medium-low again and let simmer until the flavors develop, about 10 minutes.
  7. At that point, whisk in just enough of the slurry to make a medium-thin gravy. Add about half the slurry at first, and then as the gravy thickens, add more if needed. You don’t want the gravy thick and gloppy. Medium-thin is best. Let it cook for a minute or two to cook out the raw taste in the flour.
  8. Now, whisk in the butter and cut the heat to low. Let the gravy simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes. It should get a nice glossy sheen from the butter. Taste it and add more of any seasoning you think it needs. Then just let it sit on the back burner to stay warm. If the gravy gets too thick, add a bit more stock to thin it out. If it’s too thin, increase the heat to simmer it and thicken it up.

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