Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Amazing rich mushroom gravy- no flour, no fat added!

I put together this tasty little gem after we tired of grilling lean turkey burgers and we realllly wanted some sauce for the amazing brown rice pasta I just found on Amazon. I was scared of pasta alternatives because I had tried a couple here and there and they just made me sad. But the reviews for this stuff were amazing, so I said what the hell. This is what it looks like and you can read the reviews for yourself here:


You know how everyone says that a lot of rare meats taste "just like chicken"? Well, I have to say- this stuff actually tastes just like regular pasta. You have to be careful with the cooking time, though. I cooked it for about 9 minutes, although it suggested 11-13 minutes. I just kept tasting to check for the right texture- which happened to be right around the 9 minute mark. I drained it and actually chose to rinse it in cold water. This is *not* something I would usually do with regular pasta, because the starch is great for catching and holding on to sauce. But in this case, reviews had said it could get mushy, and I really wanted to make sure it stopped cooking. So I gave it a quick rinse with a shot of cold water, and it turned out perfect. There was no odd flavor or aftertaste, and the texture was just what you would expect from a normal wheat-based pasta.

Ok, now that I got to get in my excitement about my new pasta, let's talk gravy. 


Mushroom Gravy: Ingredients

~8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 4 cups broth- I used beef here and loved the meaty beef and mushroom combo, but you could also switch up the flavors and use chicken or veggie broth. 
- Rosemary- fresh or dried,to taste. I used ~ 1/2 tbsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Arrowroot or cornstarch

You need to start by browning the onions and mushrooms. Depending on your diet restrictions, you can a) use a bit of olive oil, b) spray the pan with some cooking spray, or c) cook the onions and mushrooms by putting a bit of broth in the pan at the beginning to keep everything from sticking. 

In the photos here, I used a shot of cooking spray, no additional oil or fat was added. I also used my magical Bialetti ceramic pan.... 

Once you have decided on your method, add that plus the mushrooms, onions, and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. Cook the onions and mushrooms over medium heat until they brown- you may even see some of the browned bits start to stick to the bottom of the pan. You want to take this opportunity to develop some serious flavor. The browning will make the veggies caramelize- the natural sugars in the onions will make them taste sweet, and the mushrooms will develop a savory meaty flavor. 

Once the onions and mushrooms are nicely browned, pour in 3 1/2 cups of broth, reserving the other 1/2 cup for later. Add in the rosemary. If you're using fresh rosemary, remove the leaves from the stem and give it a nice chop. If you're using dry, I would also suggest either chopping the rosemary or using a mortar/pestle to grind it down a bit. This is also personal taste- I just don't like chewing larger pieces of dried rosemary.... but I love the flavor. I used a mortar and pestle and just ground it down until it was mostly powder. 

Bring the sauce to a boil. Then turn it down to medium-low heat and let it cook.....

And cook....

Until it reduces by about 1/4 (approximately 15-20 minutes):

At this point, you could eat it as-is and it would be super tasty, but not very thick. You could continue to reduce it, but by further condensing the flavors, you might end up with an overly salty sauce. The other option is to use arrowroot or cornstarch, which is what I did here. The final 1/2 cup of broth was set aside for this purpose- use that to make a slurry with the cornstarch or arrowroot. The broth should be at least room temperature, if not cool, to be the most effective. Stir this mixture right at the end- if you continue cooking at a medium heat or bring the sauce to a boil after adding it, it may reduce the effectiveness of the thickener. 

Mix in enough of the slurry to get the consistency you want. Since you are using broth instead of water, it shouldn't water down your mixture- but may want to taste to see if any additional seasonings should be added prior to serving.

And voila! That's it! No added fat or flour and you can have rich, creamy myshroom gravy. T was craving salisbury steak (which neither of us has had in years), so we grilled some seasoned burger patties and then smothered that and the awesome brown rice pasta with the sauce. He dubbed it "the best salisbury steak he's ever had." Not sure what I'm being compared to, since most salisbury steaks come in frozen dinners...but I'll take it ;)

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