We are often told that the best way to make a gravy is to start with drippings. You roast your pork, beef, chicken, turkey or lamp, you gather the drippings, you thicken it and season it and you have gravy. My problem with that procedure is that the meat can get cold and dry while I make the gravy. And that is especially true when I cook a smallish piece of meat like a rack of ribs or chops that’s good for only four.
Plus, there’s the issue of all that fat in the drippings. That’s what drippings are, mostly — melted fat. Delicious melted fat but maybe a bit too much fat. Beef fat and lamb fat leave a not-so-pleasant aftertaste and a sensation in the mouth when it gets cold. Nagse-sebo, we say in Filipino. I don’t know the exact English translation for sebo.
So, I’ve experimented with other ways of making gravy. Even before I same across Jamie Oliver’s formula, I was already making gravy with broth. And now, here’s another technique that I am loving so much. Mushroom gravy. With pureed mushrooms. I made a huge batch, more than enough for the lamb chops I served it with, used the excess for another dish and the few tablespoonfuls that coated the bottom of the serving bowl… well, Speedy saved that. To dip bread in, he said. Yes, that good.
I used oyster mushrooms — dried because the secret is in the water in which the mushrooms rehydrated. You can choose just about any mushroom variety but note that the flavor of the gravy will vary depending on the mushroom or combination of mushrooms that you choose. Mushrooms do have different flavors, some stronger than others.
- 20 grams dried oyster mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion chopped
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- a bit of sugar for balance
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Worcestershire sauce to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 6 large fresh mint leaves thinly sliced (read about chiffonade)
- extra butter optional
Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour in about two cups of warm water. Allow to rehydrate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat half of the butter in a pan. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium-low heat until softened. Add the mushrooms. Cook for about a minute.
Pour in the water in which the mushrooms have soaked. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of sugar. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
Pour the contents of the pan into the blender and puree everything. The mixture may appear grainy and that’s okay because that will give the gravy the body that it needs.
Heat the remaining butter in the pan. Add the flour and make a brown roux (read about making a roux).
Pour in the pureed mushrooms, stirring as you pour.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, and more salt and pepper, if needed.
Add the thyme, tarragon and sage. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together.
Turn off the heat. Add extra butter, if you like, stirring until the butter melts.
Finally, stir in the mint leaves.