Saturday, November 15, 2003
On the twelfth of Thanksgiving my true love gave to me one veg casserole, two side dishes, three fine desserts...Okay, so it will never catch on but as I think about the days preceding Thanksgiving and all the anticipation of feasting and family and long rides through the snow to grandma's house I realize that tradition really is the heart of the holiday. The tradition of family, a accounting of the years triumphs and failures, a moment to remember the past and to anticipate the future all wrapped in the warmth and aroma of a single day and great meal, it all means 'tradition' and tradition needs familiarity. Some of the recipes we have detailed for this years vegetarian Thanksgiving are familiar and others are perhaps not so familiar, one essential item on any holiday menu however is the gravy, but how to get gravy without the drippings. The mystery of great gravy at last revealed...
3 cups of hot water
1/4 cup of flour
3 TBLS of vegetable oil
3 vegan vegetable bouillon cubes
Dissolve the bouillon in the hot water. To a very hot frying pan add the vegetable oil but don't let it smoke. With a wooden spoon in hand add the flour a little at a time while constantly stirring. When the oil is completely absorbed a paste will form. Cook and stir for a very short time, usually not more that 15 seconds, slightly longer for a darker gravy, now slowly add the hot water, all 3 cups still stirring. Because the water is hot lumps should not form. Stirring and a little practice will give you a feel for this. The gravy will be thick and bubbly and wonderful. Remember you can always add a little water or flour to adjust the texture, a little flour goes a long way so be sparing
This recipe is a modified roux which we designed for the beginner. Variations include different oils, seasoning and the use of canned bouillon or even better, home made vegetable broth. I suggest practicing a few times with this simplified version to master the techniques and then experiment with your own favorite version. It won't take long before you can make great gravies in your sleep, just like grandma's.
Makes 3 cups
Baked Stuffing with Gravy and Sweet Potatoes
Make your life easy and purchase a package of commercial stuffing mix. Most are made on the stove top and most should be vegan with whole grain breads, herbs and a little corn syrup if they include 'natural' flavors, this may be from processed turkey so read carefully.
1 12 ounce can of yams or sweet potatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup of gravy
2 Tbls vegetarian spread
Prepare the stuffing as directed and refrigerate 1 hour to set. Coat a 9" square baking pan with 1 Tbls of the vegetarian spread. Add one cup of your gravy to 4 cups of stuffing and mix gently add the mixture to an the pan and top with the chopped yams. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup of gravy over the top cover and add the remaining Tbls of the vegetarian spread in pinches. Bake covered at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the cover for the last 10 minutes to brown the top.