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Vegan Planet: Chestnut-Porcini Gravy

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Chestnut-Porcini Gravy

We’re in the home stretch of my Thanksgiving recipes from this year’s menu. All that’s left is the gravy!  I have a few favorite go-to recipes for sauces and gravies. One is the Madiera Sauce posted on my Vegan Thanksgiving Feast on  The other is a brown gravy posted on another Thanksgiving feature.

This year I decided to make a chestnut-porcini gravy.  Instead of making a homemade stock, I used a porcini bouillon cube for a rich broth.  I found them at an Italian market this fall when I was in Providence, and they have such a great flavor. The chestnuts I always get at an Asian market because they sell cooked chestnuts in vacuum-sealed bags for under $2 a bag.

To get a rich mushroom and chestnut flavor throughout I simmered the mushrooms and chestnuts in the broth along with onion, a little port, and some herbs, and a little gravy browner to enrich the color.  I then pureed it all in the Vitamix for a smooth and creamy gravy that is so good, I almost wanted to drink it. If you don't have porcini bouillon cubes, any kind of mushroom broth or vegetable broth will work.  For the mushrooms in the gravy, you can use any kind of fresh mushroom (even regular white mushrooms) to balance the rich flavor of the porcini broth.  (I can't get fresh porcinis anyway, and I discovered that I'm out of the dried ones!)

Chestnut-Porcini Gravy
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup minced onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon ground dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
2 tablespoons dry port, marsala, or white wine (optional)
1 cup cooked chestnuts (I used vacuum-sealed cooked chestnuts from an Asian market — $1.49 a bag!)
1 1/2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth (I used 1 porcini mushroom bouillon cube)
Salt and black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon gravy browner (Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet – available at any supermarket)

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft.  Stir in the mushrooms and cook until slightly softened, then stir in the thyme, sage, and port, if using.  Add the chestnuts and 1 cup of the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  
Transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender or food processor, add the remaining broth and process until very smooth. Transfer the gravy back to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until the gravy is hot and the flavors are blended. If the gravy is too thick, stir in additional broth or some almond milk.  If it isn’t thick enough, stir in a little cornstarch slurry over medium heat, stirring until thickened.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Another great thing about this gravy is that it's soy-free, gluten-free, and very low in fat. (You can even simmer the onion in the broth to soften if you want to omit the oil altogether.)

Sorry I was so late getting this posted today.  It was too dark to take the photo last night, and then the batteries went dead this morning.  Better late than never.  Happy Thanksgiving!


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