Hold on to your saucepans. Heeeere we go. It's "Vegan Month of Food" (Vegan MoFo).
And in case you missed it, I'm blogging A MONTH OF VEGAN GRAVIES.
Basic Cream Gravy or Country Gravy - also known as sawmill gravy, white gravy, milk gravy and sausage gravy (if you add sausage - obviously).
This is the gravy most popular in the American South and is 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.
So: Let me just say a word to the many vegan (and other) restaurants out there: Good gravy can MAKE OR BREAK YOU! Learn to do it right! (Yes, I remember gravy from the non-vegan olden days when I didn't care what ingredients it had exactly).
I'll be doing a few restaurant reviews later on; EVERY time I have the good fortune to go to a vegan restaurant, I ALWAYS order gravy. Sometimes I feel like I need to make an instruction sheet to leave with my check.
- 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 properly.
- Not stirring CONSTANTLY may cause lumps, or scorching.
- 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 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
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.
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.NOTE: The seasoning part is up to your individual preference. Usually I add a little more salt, but that's all.
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.
That's it!!!!!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.