Valley Bounty: Gravy that makes mushrooms the meaty star

  • Shiitake mushrooms at New England Wild Edibles. SUBMITTED PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 11/23/2019 3:00:19 AM
Modified: 11/23/2019 3:00:05 AM

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I have been chatting with local farmers about their favorite holiday recipes. I recently spoke with Elijah Lagreze, who runs New England Wild Edibles in Colrain with his father Paul Lagreze. The pair cultivate mushrooms on their farm so it’s no surprise that Lagreze’s Thanksgiving suggestion prominently features the fungal kingdom: mushroom gravy.

Lagreze explained that his mushroom gravy tastes like a classic gravy. “My twist on it is to allow for the folks in my life with different dietary restrictions the chance to enjoy a really tasty, hearty gravy that still works if you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free,” he said. Lagreze enjoys mushroom gravy alongside a classic Thanksgiving meal of turkey and mashed potatoes. But he said that it can go great in a variety of dishes. For example, he uses the gravy as a base in a Lagreze family favorite, Chicken of the Woods Pot Pie, a typical chicken pot pie with the meat replaced with mushrooms.

New England Wild Edibles cultivates their mushrooms outdoors, so their harvests wrapped up a few weeks back when the hard frosts began to hit. But their dried mushrooms stay tasty throughout the winter and there’s plenty of mushroom growers in the Valley with indoor farms, so fresh mushrooms stay in season year-round. Pick up some local mushrooms and give this creative recipe a try.

Mushroom Gravy

Recipe by Elijah Lagreze

½ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil or dairy-free butter
2 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup gluten-free flour (almond, rice and oat all work fine)
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon liquid amino acids
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the sliced mushrooms in oil on medium heat for 10 minutes. Then, add the mushrooms to a pot with the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain out the mushrooms. Save the stock and keep it warm. (Now that the mushrooms have flavored the stock, you can discard them.) In a medium pot, whisk the flour and oil or butter on medium heat until it bubbles. Add the stock slowly and keep whisking to keep smooth. On low heat, add the yeast, garlic, liquid amino, and white pepper. Stir until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 10 servings, each serving ¼ cup of gravy.

Noah Baustin is the Communications Coordinator at CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture). Join CISA for Field Notes, an afternoon of local food and farm stories at the Academy of Music Theatre on Nov 24.

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