It is my favorite time of year- the days are getting shorter, I can sleep in the cool nights without my fan constantly going, and the holidays are right around the corner. I love the Autumn but I do not love that it has become common practice for the day after Halloween becomes the first day of Christmastime. What happened to my favorite holiday? Have we lost our appreciation of Thanksgiving in eagerness to skip to the big daddy of holidays?
Not this gal. I’m keeping my pumpkins on my doorstep and my autumn leaves wreath on the door until the last day of November. Thanksgiving day can be rather overwhelming so I like to find a few cheats that will help make the preparations go smoothly. This week and next I will offer two sets of recipes that will make your Thanksgiving day much easier. This week we talk day before prep.
Anything that you can make on Thanksgiving eve will make your holiday smoother and more enjoyable. My absolute favorite recipe to prepare ahead of time is my Vegan Porcini Mushroom Shallot Gravy. I have been making this for years and even the most steak-and-potato types love it.
Porcini Mushroom Shallot Gravy
For this flavor-packed-gravy you will need:
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 finely diced medium red onion
- 1 finely diced large shallot
- 3 teaspoons garlic paste
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 package sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (chardonnay or the like)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Pepper to taste
Begin by soaking 1/2 cup of dried porcini mushrooms in 3 cups of water in a small bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
Finely dice one medium size red onion and one large shallot. Add the onions to a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
Add 3 teaspoons garlic paste, 5 sprigs of thyme, and 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Let cook for a minute or so and add 1/4 cup dry white wine to deglaze the pan.
Add your package of sliced baby portobello mushrooms to your pan and cook 4-5 minutes until they are browning and losing moisture.
Pour in your soaked porcini mushrooms, liquid and all, into your pan with 1 cup of vegetarian broth. Bring mixture to boil and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure the liquid does not evaporate too soon. Add more broth as needed.
After your mixture has simmered for 20 minutes place a fine strainer over a large bowl and pour your mixture through.
Use a rubber spatula to force as much liquid out of the mushroom mixture as possible. Don’t throw away your mushroom leftovers- it is fantastic tossed with pasta and parmesan cheese or on top of a steak. So, not only did you ease your Thanksgiving day to-do list, but your day-before-Thanksgiving dinner is taken care of, too!
Put your pan back onto the stove and return your broth to the pan and bring to a slow boil.
Dissolve 2 tablespoons of flour in 1/4 cup water and stir until completely smooth. Add your flour paste into your broth and whisk consistently until your gravy is nicely thickened. This is where I stop, but if you want it to be perfectly smooth you can strain out the lumps one more time.
To store over night: let cool at least 1 hour before placing into an airtight container and sticking it in your fridge. You can also make this gravy a week ahead of time and freeze.
This gravy tastes amazing on mashed potatoes, vegetables, turkey, and anything else that you want coated in deliciousness! Next week I will give you my favorite take on a simple Turkey Day side and appetizer: