|I don't care what it's been, what is it now?|
When my dining partner and I started moving away from a meat-based diet, gravy dropped off the menu. But we like gravy. Yummy, yummy gravy. It is near the top of the list of comfort foods, and is an essential part of the northern winter diet required for putting on an insulating layer of fat. Besides, how else can you eat all those potatoes down in the root cellar?
For minimal meatists and those aspiring to reduce their foodprint, this gravy is not based on a dead bird or hunk of cow, but on the cooking liquid from preparing dry beans. Because of this it is also a very frugal menu item as it uses a resource that more often than not gets wasted.
Bean cooking liquid, bean broth, or bean 'juice' as we appetizingly call it, is rich in nutrients. When made into a sauce it is beanalicious. The following recipe is based on one I found in Laurel's Kitchen for Soy Gravy.
Although that recipe uses soy beans, I have made bean gravy using the broth from cooking several different kinds of beans. Soy broth makes excellent gravy, but so does the juice from pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, and black beans. Garbanzo bean (chick pea) broth is not recommended for gravy.
Bean Gravy Recipe
1/4 cup oil
1 small onion diced small
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bean cooking liquid
2 tsp soy sauce or Bragg
pinch one or more seasonings: chili powder, thyme, black pepper, salt
- Preheat a saucepan or cast iron fry pan over medium-high heat. If you wish, toast flour in the dry pan for a couple of minutes, remove then set aside. Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. Stir the flour into the onions and cook for two minutes.
- Add the bean broth and whisk to mix everything to a smooth consistency.
- Add soy sauce/Bragg and other seasonings to taste.
- Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes to deepen flavours.
- Cook to desired consistency (add a bit of water if too thick).
As mentioned previously, bean gravy is made for mashed potatoes. We also use it for other dishes. Add corn to the gravy and have it over a bowl of brown rice. Thicken gravy and serve it over whole wheat toast. It is excellent served over split home made cheese scones.