Mushroom Gravy

May 21, 2004

Sometimes you cook meat and want gravy but there just are not enough drippings to make traditional gravy. What to do?

In that situation we usually make mushroom gravy - especially because you can add the few drippings that the meat did give and really improve the flavor.

meat drippings (not enough)
olive oil
enough sliced fresh mushrooms to cover the bottom of your pan in a single layer.
stock or soup - canned chicken stock works just fine
optional - one herb or seed. I like fennel.

a pan that can get hot - black iron is best
a high-temperature stirring spoon - we use a charred wooden spoon for roux.

Slice the mushrooms and have ready

If you are adding a seed like fennel or cumin, put it in the pan now. If you are using an herb or something that will burn like garlic, add it after the stock goes in. For now, assume a healthy pinch (1/2 tsp or more) of fennel seed.

add olive oil to the pan - a healthy pour

heat the pan on high until the seeds start to fry a little. (optional, can toast seeds in dry pan, then add oil - just be careful pouring oil into a hot pan)

add any cooking drippings (grease) that you want to use

add as much flour to the pan as you have fat (olive oil and drippings combined) - you want a 1-1 ratio, but can measure by eye.

turn the heat to medium

now stir, frantically, and work the flour and the oil together into a smooth paste.

fry the paste in the pan, flipping and stirring it as you can, until it starts to brown a little. It will sizzle and fry for a while as the water in the flour boils off, then it will start darkening. I usually stop with a light oak roux for mushroom gravy, but you can take this as dark as your smoke alarm will allow if you want a cajun taste.

Add the mushrooms to the roux. Stir more.

The roux will adhere to the mushrooms in a thin paste. Keep stirring and flipping until the mushrooms are cooked - about two or three minutes.

You should now have a pan with lots of mushrooms covered in pasty slime, some bits of pasty slime, and the first hints of starch sticking to the bottom and sides of the pan.

turn heat to low

Add stock. The first pour will flash into steam. Keep adding and stirring, deglazing the pan and turning those lumps of starchy oil into a thick, smooth gravy.

Add any carving juices now, add herbs or garlic now if you want them.

Heat until it bubbles. Add more stock if it feels thick or lumpy.


Posted by Red Ted at May 21, 2004 08:53 AM | TrackBack