I have another holiday edition of DIY Wednesday for you today: gravy. After the ganache last week, I thought we would go savory today. I know it’s a little late for Thanksgiving, but there are still plenty of meals this season that will warrant gravy. I wanted to show you how easy it is to make your own gravy because I was just as surprised when I learned.
When I was younger, gravy was bought in a jar. My mom pretty much made the rest of our Thanksgiving feast from scratch, but the gravy and the jellied cranberries came from a jar and a can. So in my tiny kid mind, that is how all gravy was made. In a jar and then heated up on the stove.
As I got older and started cooking for myself and reading cookbooks, I saw recipes for gravy. What?! You can make this from scratch?! Yes. Yes, you can. And it is really easy.
I’m making a mushroom gravy for those of us who don’t eat meat, but you can make gravy from pretty much any cooked meat you have following this recipe. Whichever you choose, it’s really simple and so much healthier to make your own gravy. It’s also cheaper which is a must during the holiday season!
- 8 oz mushrooms (I used baby bellas), sliced
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- Olive oil
- 1/3 cup onion, minced finely
- 1 to 2 tbsp coconut aminos, liquid aminos, or soy sauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp potato starch or tapioca starch (I used potato)
- 1 1/2 cup cool water
- 1 tsp parsley
- 3 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
- salt and pepper.
- Heat a little olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft. Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper then add the garlic and saute for another minute.
- Add the coconut aminos or soy sauce, white wine vinegar, and the vegetable broth. Cook until the liquid has reduced by about half and the mushrooms have gotten smaller.
- While the mushrooms are cooking make the starch slurry. Combine the 1 and 1/2 cups water and 1 tablespoon of starch and mix together with a fork. Make sure the mixture is smooth and all lumps are gone.
- Pour the slurry into the skillet and stir to mix everything together. The slurry will start to thicken as it cooks. Add the parsley and rosemary. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste.
- Once the gravy is thick enough, pour into a gravy boat or bowl and use immediately.
Gravy needs to be used right after it’s made, because unlike its store bought counterpart it doesn’t last forever. It’s much better fresh and since it’s so easy to make you can whip it up right at the end of your cooking.
What is your favorite holiday dish to make from scratch?
Polenta is one of my favorite things because it is so versatile and super tasty. Maybe you have heard of it or you’re scratching your head right now going, “Po-whatta?” Polenta is a fairly simple dish made of cornmeal that has been boiled into a porridge like consistency. After it has been boiled, polenta can be served in a variety of ways. You can eat it as is, or you can let it set and bake, fry, saute, or even grill it. It pairs well with so many things; one of my favorite ways to eat it is to top it with a mushroom gravy. Because it is so easy to make, polenta makes a really great side dish, but it can easily be made into the main course. I have a few different recipes that utilize polenta that I plan on sharing soon, but I thought that I would just give you the basic steps to making polenta as well as a few easy ways to “fancy” it up.
Polenta topped with my favorite mushroom gravy
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3-4 cups water/milk/non-dairy milk*
- 1 tsp salt
*If you are going to be eating the polenta in it’s porridge like form, use 4 cups of your choice of liquid. If you want to let it set and then use it, use 3 cups. I like doing a mix of water and either almond or coconut milk. Using milk makes it a little creamier than just plain water, but water works just as well.
1. In a medium saucepan bring your water/milk and 1 tsp salt to a rolling boil. Once at a boil, grab a whisk in one hand and your one cup of cornmeal in the other. Slowly add the cornmeal to the water while constantly whisking with your other hand. This helps to make sure there are no lumps.
2. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the cornmeal is nice and thick and starting to pull away from the sides of the pot. Stir often and watch out for polenta splatters!
3. You can eat it as is at this point or you can let the polenta set so you can slice it and bake or grill it. Grease or line any pan that has an edge with parchment paper and pour the polenta out. Spread the polenta evenly and place it in the fridge for at least an hour or in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. Once the polenta is set you can cut it up and prepare it however you would like!
That is seriously it when it comes to making polenta. I told you it was really easy! Now there are a few things that you can do to jazz it up and make it even tastier. You could:
- Add in shredded cheese or butter to make it even creamier.
- Try out different seasonings. I like adding in garlic and Italian seasonings as well as taco seasonings
- Top with gravy, vegetables, meat, or any kind of sauce
- Use it as the base for a casserole (I have a recipe for this coming soon!)
Experiment with a few different things and find out what you like best. Polenta is a very neutral canvas when it comes to food, so it is really easy to pair with many different creations. Go pick up a bag of cornmeal (if you can find it in bulk, it is really cheap!) and get your polenta on!