In this my second-last post for the year, I am excited to share my epic vegan gravy. Why excited? Because, let’s be honest, some vegan gravy tastes like dishwater or worse, chalk, but this one doesn’t. This one is thick, glossy and rich with full flavours that are decidedly meat-like. My epic gravy is traditional without the tradition.
Served over some gorgeous smashed potatoes with miso butter and softly roasted leeks and our vegan Christmas feast is almost complete.
OK, if you’re not going to say it, I’ll say it. Man, this year went quick. Cliches aside, this year had roller-skates. We’ve had a very big year at Goodness headquarters. The Husband got a promotion which means he is busier than a March fly in April, the house had endless nips and tucks to carve it in to its current beautiful-but-not-quite-finished-state while the Elf prepared to leave the nest for Kindergarten. A very big deal when you are an almost four year-old. She also underwent surgery on her hands and her bravery and resilience left me in awe. My kid does that a lot…leaves me in awe.
It’s also been a year since my beautiful Nan went to the stars and while I thought she would fill many lines of these pages, I find I am not ready to write about her again. I miss her. This year passed so quickly it feels like she was just here but we are days away from her anniversary. She was my kindred and while I am happy she is with my Grandfather again, I wish she was here. But, I guess someone has to take care of all the canines and cats from our family that went on before her. They are in good hands.
Phew. Let’s talk about gravy and sides before I cry all over my keyboard.
Last week I shared my simple stuffed squash recipe, an easy-to-make but wonderfully festive vegan main. While it is moist and tasty enough to stand alone, this epic vegan gravy takes the dish to another level. Sautéed vegetables, red wine, garlic, stock and, wait for it, Marmite combine to create a full-flavoured almost meaty gravy. I finish my gravy with the smallest dash of apple cider vinegar to lift the flavour on the tongue and a good crack of pepper and sea salt. Honestly, I could lick the plate.
To round out our main, fantastically crispy smashed potatoes with miso butter and roasted leek with vegan parmesan. Miso butter is a revelation. I don’t know if he was the first but David Chang from Momofuku sang it praises and the chorus took off. Miso butter is simply a combination of 1-part miso paste to 2-parts butter whipped together. Served over piping hot and crunchy smashed potatoes, the butter melts and…sigh.
Somewhat lighter but still packed with flavour, slow roasted leeks finish the dish with a salty sprinkle of vegan parmesan. The sweet onion works so beautifully with the salty cheese. You could make your own parmesan, but I used Green Vie grated parmesan because it is completely wonderful and so close to the real thing. I am not paid to endorse their product but it is fantastically good so to the rooftops I go. Consider it shouted.
A simple but festive stuffed squash, crunchy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside smashed potatoes with miso butter, roasted leeks with parmesan and my epic vegan gravy. That will do nicely for a vegan Christmas main. Next week, white chocolate set creams with macerated, and slightly drunk, cherries. I can’t wait.
An Epic Vegan Gravy + Some Simple Festive Sides
This Epic Vegan Gravy is thick, glossy and rich with full flavours that are decidedly meat-like. It's traditional without the tradition.
- 1 large brown onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 carrots, chopped in to small cubes
- 1 rib of celery, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, smashed, skin left on
- 1 and a 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (60ml) good red wine
- 2 teaspoons Marmite
- a sprig of fresh thyme and a 2-3 sage leaves, chopped
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 125 ml water
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- sea salt
- cracked pepper
- a small splash of apple cider vinegar
Smashed Potatoes with Miso Butter and Thyme
- 750 grams smallish potatoes (I used a new De-lite variety)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt
- half a head of garlic
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 2 tablespoons Shiro (light) miso paste
- a handful of fresh thyme
Roast Leek with Vegan Parmesan
- 3 - 4 leeks, white part only, washed well to remove any sand and grit and sliced in half lengthways. Trim to fit in to your baking dish.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sea salt
- cracked pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan
- To make the vegan gravy, heat the oil in a heavy based pot or pan on medium heat and add the chopped onion, celery and carrot. Sauté for around five minutes or until the onion is tender and beginning to brown at the edges a little. Add the smashed garlic.
- Stir in the flour and cook for two minutes. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan and then add the Marmite. The mixture with be a little gluey, don't worry, it's normal. Add the fresh herbs.
- Stir in the vegetable stock and water and continuing cooking for a further few minutes, stirring regularly, until the gravy thickens.
- Add the butter and turn the heat to low. Cook for a further three minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add a splash of apple cider vinegar and season well with salt and pepper.
- Allow the gravy to sit for around 10 minutes to continue infusing the flavours before straining in to a gravy jug. If the gravy is too thick, add a splash of water to thin. Return to the pan to warm if needed before serving.
- To prepare the potatoes, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F) and place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover them with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for around twenty minutes or until tender but firm.
- Strain the potatoes and allow them to sit for five minutes to steam dry.
- Place them on a large roasting tray and using a fork or masher, gently press down until they "smash". Break up the garlic and put it in the pan also. Drizzle well with olive oil and season with sea salt. Sprinkle with fresh thyme.
- Roast in the oven for fifteen minutes before carefully removing them. Flip the potatoes over and return them to the oven for another fifteen minutes or until they are crispy.
- Meanwhile, cream the miso paste and butter together to a soft whip.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven and serve with a small dollop of miso butter.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). To prepare the roast leeks, lay the leeks side by side in a small roasting pan or oven proof tray.
- Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Add a few spoons of vegetable stock and roast for an hour, adding more stock intermittently to keep the leeks from drying out. If the leeks begin to brown while they are still firm, cover them with foil and continue to roast.
- When soft and tender, sprinkle the leeks with parmesan to serve.
Courses Sides and Condiments