This intensely savoury and thoroughly delicious gravy is the perfect sauce for Thanksgiving. It’s so delicious that I promise meat-eaters will love it too, and any vegetarian or vegan who may be sitting around your Thanksgiving table will thank you forever for making something they can have too. Especially as I’ve found that most people who don’t eat turkey would infinitely prefer a plate of delicious vegetable sides along with some gravy, as opposed to an entirely different main course.
(I’ve never really understood the popularity of serving vegetarians, who clearly love vegetables, and usually have an eye to healthy eating, separate carb and fat-laden dishes like puff pastry wrapped goats’ cheese or endless quiches. You may as well just serve them a pat of butter and be done with it.)
The gravy is the key part of my don’t make a separate dish for the veges theory: a plate of vegetables and potatoes definitely needs some sauce to bring it together and, of course, the problem at Thanksgiving is that most gravies contain stock and the scrapings from the meat pan.
So I’ve come up with this 100% no meat gravy, which is a hell of a lot easier than having to knock up a separate main course.
Oh and it freezes like a dream.
500gms Mushrooms (I use a combination of white and large flat to get a depth of flavour)
1 tbsp Dark soy sauce
500ml vegetable stock (Marigold Vegetable Bouillon is excellent)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (I like rapeseed or groundnut)
4tbsps hot water
2 tbsp cornflour
Very finely chop the mushrooms, (best in a food processor) reserving a handful of whole white mushrooms.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil, and add the chopped mushrooms with a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down, and slowly cook the mushrooms. The key here is to sweat the juices from them without too much evaporation. (If making this for vegetarians, I sometimes add a small knob of butter to the sweating mushrooms for added richness.)
Heat the stock in a large saucepan and, when the mushrooms are cooked, tip them and their cooking juices into the pan, and leave to simmer. Chop the remaining mushrooms into small pieces (three slices and then three across), and add to the pan.
Sieve (this is very important) the cornflour into a small bowl and add the hot water slowly, stirring briskly. When mixed, pour into the large saucepan.
Stir until the sauce thickens. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to your preference. If you like, you can also add single cream to this. (But not for the vegans or dairy-free guests.)