I don’t know about you but the one Thanksgiving leftover we always run out of is gravy. Maybe that is a good thing after dousing it on practically everything on my plate — turkey, stuffing, potatoes, you name it. I’ve tried some of the gravies that come in a jar or even some from the deli just so I can have one more hot turkey sandwich the week after we finish off our Thanksgiving gravy. Nothing comes even close to homemade.
This year I made some vegetarian roasted garlic gravy that you can make anytime, no turkey fat or pan juices required. You roast some garlic, add that to butter and flour, then slowly whisk in vegetable stock. If you aren’t concerned about having a completely vegetarian gravy, you could use the same secret ingredient — roasted garlic — with the turkey stock I know you are going to make after Thanksgiving. Truthfully, I didn’t miss the the meat at all in the vegetarian version and can imagine it might be a welcome substitute. Let’s face it, you can only consume so much turkey.
The second most requested dish in our house is mashed potatoes. There are so many ways to prepare these that I’m sure you have your favorite — that’s how food traditions are. Once a certain potato texture becomes imprinted in your mind, it becomes hard, if not impossible to change, not that you would even want to. But if you are still open to improving upon your mashed potatoes or starting a new tradition, I’m happy to share a few things I know but I must confess, Charlie is the master potato-masher in our house. I did manage to whip up a batch on my own based on what I’ve observed from him.
First you must decide what kind of potatoes to use. Many people swear by Russets and love their dry, fluffy texture. I think the German Butterballs from Alden Farms are my favorite.They are somewhere between a Russet and a Yukon Gold in flavor and texture. I also like my mashed potatoes “rustic” and always leave the skins on. German Butterballs have a fairly thin skin that adds depth to the flavor.
After boiling the quartered potatoes in salted water, drain them and let some of the steam evaporate before mashing. You can pour the cooking water into your serving bowl to warm it up. We’ve been using the same old wavy masher for years but read somewhere that the kind with a grid and flat face works better. I’m still not convinced about this having tried both. Mix in melted butter and warmed milk a little at a time until you achieve the texture you’re looking for. Some people use a stand mixer and others use a sturdy spoon. It’s all good if you end up with the mashed potatoes in your mind — the ultimate comfort food. If you want garlic mashed potatoes, simply peel a couple of cloves and cook them with your potatoes.
If you run out of gravy or simply want a vegetarian option, I highly recommend this recipe.
Roasted Garlic Gravy
1 head of garlic
2 T olive oil
1 leek , quartered
1 onion, unpeeled and quartered
2 carrots, quartered
1 turnip, quartered
2 ribs of celery, quartered
1 bay leaf
1/2 t black peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1/3 cup soy sauce
6 cups cold water
5 T unsalted butter
1/3 c flour
Preheat oven to 400.
Separate 6 cloves of garlic from the head. Don’t peel. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast until very soft, about 45 minutes.
Heat 2T olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the rest of the head of garlic, separated but not peeled, leek, onion, carrots, turnip, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns. Cook until the vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and continue to cook until most liquid has boiled off. Add soy sauce and water and simmer, uncovered until it is reduced down to about 4 cups of liquid. This can take up to an hour.
Strain the stock through a fine sieve. If you have more than 4 cups, you can simmer longer to reduce it down.
Mash roasted garlic to a puree. Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add garlic puree and flour. Stir and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add warm vegetable stock slowly while whisking. Continue to simmer and whisk in stock until it thickens. I added plenty of ground pepper but no salt since the soy sauce is already salty. Taste and season to your liking.
This recipe was inspired by Gourmet.com.