Monday, December 24, 2007

The quest for perfect holiday gravy

I am a vegetarian ... kind of. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I don't eat meat. No piggy, no cow, no sheep -- just no mammals in general. The only meat(s) that I eat is the occasional chicken nugget -- because by the time the chicken has been made into a nugget or strip it's practically not a chicken anymore (chik'n?) -- and fish, because fish is good for you. Mostly, I'm just too lazy to go entirely vegetarian. I live in a very meat-happy state, and if I didn't allow fish and a little chicken into my diet every now and then, I'd never get to eat out.

The holidays can be a bit tough for me because we spend it with family, who are all big meat eaters. Which is fine, of course. Even though someone shreds of meat get into almost everything, even the vegetables -- because that's the way we do things here round these parts -- I can eat around it. I make a really tasty vegetarian cornbread dressing and load up on the veggies.

But I have to admit, I'm a fan of gravy. I looooove gravy. So I've been on the prowl for a perfect vegetarian gravy recipe. I've tried about five different recipes and I keep coming up with the same damn problem -- lumps. Little dots of flour all through the bowl. Ugh. I usually use this great finely sifted flour called Wondra, which is nigh impossible to get lumps with, but I can't seem to find it anymore. So I've been using regular flour and I get lumps. Argh.

Finally, after finding a very tasty but very lump-inducing recipe, wondering what the hell I was doing wrong, I sat down and hunted down cooking tips on ye olde Internet to find out how to make lumpless gravy.

The secret -- roux. You mix the flour with the grease/oil first, before you add the liquid. And I knew that, because that's the way I always made gravy before I went vegetarian. All the vegetarian recipes add the flour last, which results in lumps. Silly vegetarians.

Merry Xmas again!


drlobojo said...

As I read your site today I had an epiphany of sorts. I was durn near raised on vegetarian gravy and didn't know it. When the bacon grease ran out, or we didn't fry meat for a meal, we made white gravy with Crisco, butter, flour and milk exactly like we made it with meat grease.
More than half the time, that 's the way gravy was prepared for our table. Meat or not every meal generally had gravy and bread.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Erudite Redneck said...

You've been tagged! Come see!

HapaThealogy said...

Drlobojo, that was pretty much what we did in my family too. That's probably why I can't give up gravy.

ER: nooooo, don't tag me! I don't want to be it!