Magic Dairy Free Sauce and Gravy: It’s All About the Roux

Mr. Little Sis is a sauce guy. He likes everything better with sauce on it, gravy, something. It’s never really been a requirement for me, but I have learned to appreciate the additional flavor and the warm yum that a good sauce can provide. Because we’ve had a relatively long and unpleasant winter, warm yum has become pretty important to me. And so I’ve been doing some thinking about creamy dishes and how best to maximize that creamy warm yum.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a mushroom stroganoff from
The Engine 2 Diet:. It was truly delicious, but the sauce was a little less smooth and creamy than it could have been. Okay, it was a little lumpy, like everyone says gravy can be. Having only experienced gravy from master gravy makers, I had never understood the lumpy gravy concern. When I made this dish, I got it. It wasn’t catastrophic. We still enjoyed the dish immensely, but it would have been better without the lumps.

I got the opportunity to think this whole lump problem through last week when making some leftover pot pies. We had leftover lentil casserole, some wild rice, and some peas. I layered them into a baking dish (rather than my big pie plate as the leftovers weren’t plentiful enough for the pie plate). I had this vision of the perfect leftover pot pie in my mind. Where you break through the pie crust and broth/gravy begins bubbling up. I sautéed some onions and mushrooms, heavily dosed them with thyme. I then removed the mushrooms
and onions from the pan and put a couple tablespoons of olive oil in the pan with the remnant bits of sautéed onion and thyme. I then added a few tablespoons of white wheat flour and stirred it into the oil. I left it on medium low heat, and stirred the paste around a bit and let it brown. Letting it brown allows the raw flour taste to cook off. This paste is called a roux (roo) and it is the foundation of yum in many dishes.
When my roux had browned a bit, I added 2 cups of veggie broth and whisked the paste and broth together. I then left it on the heat and whisked frequently until satisfied with incorporation of the roux. I left the heat on and let it cook down a bit, whisking whenever separation appeared. After a few minutes know what I had? The perfect thick gravy like broth to pour over the ingredients of my leftover pot pie. And that’s just what I did. Topped it with a savory pie crust, baked it, and magic. We enjoyed our leftover pot pies with sautéed green beans and a green salad. Fantastic transformation of leftovers and a deliciously warming meal, with nary a lump in that creamy gravy broth. Every time you wish you had gravy or a creamy sauce, you can have magic too. Just vary the seasonings and the liquid you add according to the flavor you’re going for. Check this out if you want to become a roux expert.

As watch the snow come down in Mid-Maryland, I am reminded of a dish favored in the diner in my college town: gravy fries. Yeah, that’s what this snow storm needs, gravy fries. Here’s hoping you either have warmth and sunshine or just enough flour and olive oil to make your own leftover pot pie and gravy fries. Eat well, be well friends.

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