For Thanksgiving, I wanted to make a different type of gravy, something vegetarian, as I am not a fan of giblets. While looking up chestnut gravy recipes, I found a few mushroom ones, too.  Weekly the mushroom grower/specialist from Bohemian Well-Being mushroom farm of Occidental (out past Sebastopol) sells a wonderful selection of mushrooms at the Santa Rosa Saturday farmers market. (You can also check out the other local farmers markets for other mushroom merchants).

I often buy his enokitake mushrooms,Mushroom Grower which are my favorite (and the only variety I will actually prepare for myself). In an act of bravery, I decided to branch out and buy some of his other mushrooms to make another gravy.  I think it helped that I had recipes to follow, since I am rather mushroom ignorant and do not know how to use the other kinds, let alone how they taste. I’m afraid of buying different kinds, not liking or ruining them and then being stuck with lots of leftovers; I loathe wasting food.

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Chestnut Gravy  Adapted from a recipe on eHow.
Ingredients
2 T Earth Balance Canola & Olive Oil Spread or Olive Oil
2 Carrots, trimmed, peeled, diced
2 Stalks Celery, trimmed, chopped
1 Medium Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped
1 1/2 C Chestnuts, prepared, shelled, peeled
1 C Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
6 C Low Sodium Vegetable Broth

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Directions
In a 3-quart sauce pan over medium-high heat, saute oil, carrots, celery and onion for 15 minutes or until onions are clear. Mix in 1 1/4 cup of chestnuts, and cook the vegetables and nuts for one minute, stirring often. Pour in the wine. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any stuck-on food bits. Stir in the broth, and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes. Puree the gravy in a food processor or blender until smooth. Chop the remaining chestnuts (if they aren’t already small bits), and stir them into the gravy. Serve the hot gravy in a gravy boat or pour directly onto your food.

Mushroom Gravy Adapted from two recipes (1 & 2)
Ingredients
2 T Earth Balance Canola & Olive Oil Spread
4 Large Cloves Garlic, trimmed, peeled, minced
1 Medium Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped fine
1 lb Mixed Crimini, Oyster (or Beech) and Shiitake Mushrooms (Shiitake stems removed), sliced
2 C Filtered Water or Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1 T Gluten-Free Soy Sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 C Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
1 T Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp Arrowroot Starch* dissolved in 1 1/2 C Cold Filtered Water
2 T Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Sea Salt, to taste
Mixed Peppercorns, fresh ground to taste

*You can substitute with one tablespoon cornstarch

Directions
In a heavy pan over medium-low heat, saute the garlic in the oil until the garlic becomes golden. Add in the onion, and stir and cook it until it softens. Mix in the mushrooms and soy sauce, and saute the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring often until the mushroom liquid evaporates and the mushrooms start to brown. Add the wine and vinegar, and then boil off all of the liquid. Stir the starch-water mixture, and add it to the mushrooms. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in seasonings. For a smooth texture, puree the gravy in a food processor or blender. Serve the gravy hot in a gravy boat or serving bowl.

We were running out of time, oven ranges and serving bowls, so we unfortunately had to mix the gravies. By the way, this is a lot of gravy. Only half of it fit into the food processor and serving bowl; I left the rest chunky and transferred it to a large sealed container. Store and chill them in covered containers. Add water to the gravies until you reach the desired thin or thickness.

The combined gravies tasted good, but the mushrooms overpowered the delicate flavor of the chestnuts. Next time, I will definitely cook them separately. To save time, cook and peel the chestnuts the day before, and to save even more time, make the gravies the day before you need them. Since these gravies (especially mix together) have so many vegetables and seasonings in them, I used them as a great soup base and made tasty soups with them and other Thanksgiving leftovers. I just added in the stuffing, turkey, seeds and nuts, my vegetable side and hot water.

Although I did not make it this time, my family has a long tradition of making giblet gravy. I have no idea how old the recipe is, but I do know it goes back at least five generations (including to mine). My mom remembers her mother and grandmother using a meat grinder in my great-grandma’s kitchen to puree the organ meat and vegetables.

Giblet Gravy
Make the gravy while roasting your turkey.
Ingredients                                                                                                               Image Source
1 Turkey Neck
1 Turkey Heart
1 Turkey Gizzard
1 Turkey Liver
Filtered Water, as needed
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Large Stalk Celery, chopped
1 Large Carrot, trimmed, chopped
1/2 Medium Onion, peeled, chopped
Fresh or Dried Parsley, to taste
Fresh or Dried Thyme, to taste
Turkey Roast Drippings
2-3 T Corn Starch, as necessary
1/4 C Cold Filtered Water

Directions
Put the turkey into a medium saucepan, and fill the pan up half way with water. Add in the salt and vegetables. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low to simmer the mixture for 3 hours. Test the gizzard with a fork after 1 1/2 hours. If it’s tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer the turkey meat and vegetables to a cutting board to cool. The neck meat should fall off the bone or at least tender enough to easily remove. Run the meat and vegetables through a meat grinder. Mix in the turkey roast drippings into the gravy, scraping the pan, too. Stir the puree back into the broth, and transfer the gravy to a gravy separator. Set the gravy aside for a 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the puree mixture into a medium saucepan with a rubber spatula. In small bowl, combine the starch and water. Whisk the starch mixture into the gravy, adding a spoonful of at a time into the middle of the gravy. Thoroughly stir in more starch gradually if necessary, but avoid lumps. Boil the gravy, stirring constantly for 3 minutes over medium heat. This gravy is rather thick; add turkey stock or more water to thin it to your desired consistency.

Instead of a meat grinder, you can just use a food process or high-speed blender. You can use this recipe to make chicken giblet gravy if you are roasting chicken in lieu of turkey. You can also use more or different herbs if you like.

No offense to my ancestors, but I’m not sure how I feel about this recipe. Personally, I don’t like boiling my vegetables. I think I’d rather saute my meat and vegetables and then deglaze the pan. I think it would take much less time. I think I prefer the giblet gravy recipes of Simply Recipes’ Elise Bauer and Social Culinaire’s Jeffrey Nimer. Chef Nimer’s recipe is in the video below.

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