Even when I did eat meat, I don't recall liking gravy all that much. It just never did much for me. Maybe it was just that I so enjoyed my mashed potatoes, I didn't feel the need to smother them with anything. I suppose if you grew up eating fake mashed potatoes (the kind that come in a box as little flakes that you rehydrate) you would certainly need to put something on them to make them taste good. In which case, the potatoes just become a vehicle for eating gravy.
I remember watching my grandmother making the gravy in the pan, whisking it all around in a frenzied manner. I didn't know then what all the action was about, but I now realized she was trying to work all the lumps out of the flour. If you're serving dinner to my cousin's husband, you don't even need to go to all the trouble to make gravy, because his gravy of choice is ketchup. I often watch in awe as Derven takes the bottle of ketchup and pours it all over the entire Thanksgiving dinner his wife just took all day to prepare. Now that I think of it, maybe he uses gravy AND ketchup. I'll have to pay more attention next time. But, hey, to each his own. I enjoy a good squirt of ketchup on many things as well, and sometimes plan a meal just as an excuse to eat some ketchup. I'm not knocking him, just making an observation is all.
I've tried a few vegetarian gravies before, a couple out of a package and a couple made from scratch. The last time I had the packaged kind, I didn't like it at all. It tasted very artificial. When I was planning my Thanksgiving dinner, I got the idea that I should include gravy just because it seemed like the right thing to do. So, I went searching for a recipe, and found this one. I liked it and it was easy to make. I would definitely use it again. I think it would be a nice complement to the vegetarian shepherd's pie I make. I should mention that even Barry liked it. This is significant because Barry is a carnivore AND a picky eater, so if he likes something, I know I've got a winner!
This Thanksgiving has left me with a newly found appreciation for gravy, and will be looking for some more opportunities to utilize it. Maybe if I'm feeling really adventurous, I'll even try mixing gravy and ketchup!
Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy
3/4 cup white or button mushrooms, chopped small
1 small yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I use Imagine No Chicken broth - it's not tomato based)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tspn each of sage, thyme and marjoram
salt and pepper to taste (it's pretty salty already, so salt is probably not necessary)
1. In a large skillet, melt the margarine and add onion and mushrooms, Sautee for just a minute or two over high heat.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add veggie broth and soy sauce. Slowly add flour, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps from forming. Bring to a simmer or a low boil, then reduce heat.
3. Add seasoning, stirring consistently. Allow to cook 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly until gravy thickens.