So here I go, off to blog A MONTH OF VEGAN GRAVIES. This should be fun, interesting and.... yes.... a challenge (for me anyway!!).
But, first, a disclaimer - Please understand, I AM ALL ABOUT COMFORT FOOD and plan to blog as such. There are no requirements that every vegan recipe also be 'health' food; it's all about balance - and we all need a little variety (and gravy) now and then!!
But no, this will NOT be a low-salt, low-fat, high-fiber, vegetable-and-vitamin-and antioxidant-filled month of recipes. If you're looking for those, there's a whole list of other vegan bloggers HERE.
That out of the way, I'm going to jump right in with my personal favorite here, and one that many places can't quite seem to get right.
Basic White gravy, also known as sawmill gravy, country gravy, milk gravy, and sausage gravy (if you add sausage - obviously).
This is the gravy most popular in the American South and typically used on top of those meaty favorites (all of which can be veganized easily) like biscuits and gravy, "SOS", Chicken fried steak, grits and gravy, or eggs and gravy. It's basically milk, fat and flour. Comfort food at it's best.
Let me just say a word to the many vegan restaurants out there: Good gravy can MAKE OR BREAK YOU! Learn to do it right!
Too much flour and your gravy will get thick and pasty. Too little fat and the flour will taste "raw" and the gravy will not thicken right. Not stirring CONSTANTLY will cause lumps, or cause it to scorch. Not adding a bit of salt with the milk before cooking will make it bland, the salt needs to "cook in" to the gravy.
White gravy has a very mild flavor which is enhanced by whatever you might add to it (like sausage) I promise it's not hard though. I'll post a slightly more involved recipe at a later date - one that uses cashews or almonds. Yum.
"White gravy is essentially a béchamel sauce with the roux (thickener - more on that later) being made of meat drippings and flour (Don't freak out, of course I'm going to make this vegan!!)So how in the world to make this stuff vegan? This one's easy!!
Milk or cream is added (calm down) and thickened with the roux; once prepared, black pepper and bits of sausage or other meats are sometimes added."
If you've never made gravy, or had bad luck in the gravy-making area before, read my "NOTES", hopefully, they may prove helpful.
BASIC CREAM (WHITE) GRAVY
- 1 1/2 T. vegan margarine of your choice
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups unsweetened rice milk or oat milk
- dash of salt, sage and black pepper
Place iron skillet on medium-high heat for about one minute to heat it up. Add margarine and melt to cover bottom of skillet. NOTE: Any skillet will work, I just tend to like my cast iron one for this. ALWAYS use a balloon-shaped wire whisk for gravies. There is no substitute here, and you need the whisk to mix the fat and flour particles into the milk evenly.At this point, you can serve the gravy as is; or think of it as a basic canvas to create a masterpiece - add cooked, crumbled "sausage" (any vegan variety of your choice will do) beans, mushrooms, or any cubed veggie or veggie-meat that you like, anything's good with gravy. We'll talk about some variations later on...
Whisk flour into the fat and cook over low heat for 1 minute. NOTE: I do not brown the flour here (or make a roux), as it makes the gravy more brown or tan, I just stir it into the margarine, let it sizzle and bubble JUST a few seconds and then stir in milk.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk a little at a time. Add 1/8 tsp (pinch) of salt at this point.
Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer (bubbles form and break, but not boiling violently) and thickens.
Stir continuously working lumps to the side and bottom of the skillet until few or no lumps remain and gravy thickens. This stirring and thickening is important to cook the flour into the gravy, so the gravy doesn't taste like raw flour.
When it's thickened and simmered for a few minutes, turn off heat. Taste and add just a shake or two more of salt, rubbed sage (dry) and pepper to taste. NOTE: The seasoning part is up to your individual preference. Usually I add a little more salt, but that's all.
Pour over biscuits, toast, grits, breaded-fried seitan cutlets, nut burgers, savory waffles, or whatever....