Vegetarian Gravy for Thanksgiving
I personally love homemade turkey gravy with all the caramelized bits and drippings of the roasted turkey, so I was a bit skeptical when Lulu asked me to try his vegetarian miso gravy recipe. I couldn't believe that it would have the complexity of flavors that are present in traditional giblet gravy, but to my surprise, it was absolutely delicious.
Miso is fermented soy bean paste, and it imparts a strong, earthy flavor to the gravy. For additional flavor I added fried onions and chili flakes. Butter and a touch of heavy cream created a rich texture.
Even if you don't have a gaggle of vegetarians in your house as I do, it's worth trying out this recipe.
Yields: about 3 cups4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fried onions (see tips)
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tablespoons white miso paste
1-2/3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, up to 2 cups depending on how thin you like the gravy
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1/3 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
In a mini-blender (or a regular blender if you don't have a small one), coarsely pulse the fried onions, miso paste, red chili flakes (if used) and about 1/4 cup of warm vegetable broth. Add the cream (if used). Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt 3-1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour. Whisk for approximately 2 minutes. The flour should absorb the butter instantly and form a paste. Add the warm vegetable broth in 2 stages (for a total of 1-2/3 cups of vegetable broth). Increase the heat while constantly stirring for about 5 minutes. Add the miso mixture. Lower the heat to low. Add soy sauce. Season with pepper. Mix well. Cover the sauce with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter to keep it from forming a skin.
When you're ready to serve, warm the sauce. Add the remaining vegetable broth if needed, until you reach the desired thickness.
Miso is a fermented soybean paste that brings an added salty flavor to a broth. I buy it at the Korean store; they carry all sorts of very good quality miso paste. Check the level of sodium (not too high) on the package. I used white miso paste for its nice amber color and subtle salty flavor.
For a low fat gravy (and vegan version), substitute olive oil for the butter.
I used Ponzu soy sauce for its lemony flavor and because it slightly darkens the sauce to resemble the color of turkey gravy.
You'll want to ensure the flour is fully cooked to avoid having a raw flour taste. The trick to this is to make sure the butter (or oil) is hot enough so when you work the flour into the butter, it dissolves and immediately forms a paste. Then slowly add the warm liquid.
I made my own vegetable stock but you can use canned vegetable broth if you prefer. Make sure it's low sodium so you can control the level of seasoning.
Frying onions is easy. Chop a small yellow onion (about 1 cup). Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Fry the onions in the oil over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning until the color is evenly golden brown. Drain the oil on paper towels. I often have fried onions on hand in the freezer.
To make a smooth gravy, I always use all the ingredients at the same temperature, so make sure to heat the vegetable broth in the microwave for 30 seconds (or in a saucepan), so it's warm. If you get lumpy pieces in the sauce, don't hesitate to use a hand-held blender.Published By: on November 17, 2009.