Gravy is one of the higher purposes a dried mushroom can serve over the long and mycologically bare winter months. I have been keen to workout a fantastic mushroom gravy for awhile now.
Basic Building Block gravy recipe in 11 words:
- Rehydrated Wild Mushrooms
- Sauteed Onions + Garlic
- Stock + Mushrooms
- Butter+ Flour
So, let’s talk about this because Gravy is an art, not a science. Ingredients can be substituted. Quantities and time can be fudged. I find this recipe takes me 60 minutes from start to finish.
Mushrooms: The basic building block is about 1.5 cups of mushrooms covered in a cup of boiling water. I let that sit for 30 minutes, and often warm it up halfway through in the microwave. Then, I squeeze/drain the water out of mushrooms. I set the stock aside to add back later.
- Most recipes call for discarding the sediment in the stock. I often don’t… since I picked and cleaned and dried my own mushrooms, I know the dirt level!
- I like to crumble up about half my dried mushrooms before rehydrating, just to make my gravy less chunky. Or, if I forget, I might knife up the chunks a bit to make them smaller. It doesn’t seem to affect the flavor of the gravy as much as the chunkiness of the final product.
- You can make a single mushroom gravy like porcini or morel. My preferred way is to blend a bunch of mushrooms. It is a good way to also mix in some non-choice (but still loved) mushrooms like dried puffballs, oyster, hawk’s wings or shrimp russulas. Of course, the straight up porcini is hard to beat!
- I think some fresh mushrooms would also be good mixed in, but you are on your own with that… I don’t have any special advice other than consider your mycologically integrity before you mix store-bought with hard-fought.
Onions and Garlic: The basic building block is one large onion and 3-ish large garlic cloves. Feel free to get fancier with sweet onion or vidalia or some of that whatchamachallit onion
- Sautee in Olive Oil
- I like a good long sauté to really turn the onions brown — 15 minutes on medium heat. I think that makes the flavor better than just getting to the “translucent” stage. I often add the garlic half-way through since it cooks faster than the onion.
Wine: the basic building block is 1 cup of wine.
- Pour it into the browned onions and cook on medium-high heat until it mostly evaporates, at least 10 minutes. This is a good time to take a taste… it will help you later when you are trying to get the right wine flavor
- There are a lot different wines you could use.
- Cooking Marsala Wine
- Dry white wine
- Cooking White wine
- You are going to have to play with your own wines… I prefer a marsala and white wine, 50/50, with an extra 10% of port splashed on.
- Cooking marsala and cooking white wine (50/50) make a perfectly awesome gravy too!
Stock + Mushrooms: use 2.5 – 3 cups of stock, starting with your mushroom soaking liquid.
- Pour the mushrooms and stock into the pan. Cook it hard until it reduces by about 1/3 to 1/2
- This is where you re-use your mushroom stock. You won’t have enough, so add conventional stock too
- Watch the salt… some stock has a lot of salt
- Consider using vegetable, beef or chicken stock
- I mix different types of stock, but always use beef (and the mushroom stock) + chicken or vegetable in a medley.
Butter and Flour: Time to thicken with 2 TB of butter and 2 TB of flour.
- Make a bit extra in case you want to make your stock a bit thicker.
- I like to take some room-temperature butter and the flour and smush it all together with a spoon.
- Then, I ladle some hot stock into that bowl and stir until I have a thick liquid. Then, pour 1/2 of that liquid into the stock
Simmer for a few minutes and your gravy should be thick. If it isn’t thick enough, add some more.