I first learned to do vegetarian gravy properly long before I gave up eating meat. It was a huge eye-opener for me. The knowledge that you could make really good gravy without using meat stock went against everything I’d been brought up to believe. At that point it was my job to make the gravy, so I was doing it often and learned to do it well. I took that knowledge with me and, like with most things, I adapted it over time. The gravy I make now is a little different from that one and has, as such, developed its own unique character. You can use all regular water if that’s what you have, but I would recommend using the leftover water from boiled potatoes for two thirds of your liquid. It makes a big difference to the flavour. I urge you to try this gravy with your next Sunday roast. I promise it will be a crowd-pleaser.
Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 35-45 minutes.
2 tbsp rapeseed oil (groundnut is also fine)
1 medium onion, large diced
2 celery sticks (including leaves if you have them), sliced
1 medium carrot, skin left on, washed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 med tomatoes, cut into wedges
3-4 tbsp buckwheat flour, depending on how thick you want the gravy
1 litre potato water
500ml tap water
2 veg stock cubes
1 tbsp yeast extract
2 tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, celery and carrots for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes more, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 4-5 more minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.
Put in the buckwheat flour and stir to fully combine. This will give you a sort of thick, vegetable goo, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Now add a little bit of your potato water and stir in rapidly. It will start to thicken immediately. Add a bit more and stir again. In the beginning it will be quite thick, but it will thin out as more water goes into the pot. The important thing is to fully amalgamate the sauce before adding any more water, so that you don’t end up with lumps.
When all the potato water is in you can then add the tap water and the rest of the ingredients. Bring the sauce to the boil, stirring from time to time, and then turn down the heat and simmer, without a lid, for 35-45 minutes. The gravy will reduce by about a third during this time and the sauce will become rich and smooth.
After this time taste it to see if it needs any more seasoning and add some salt and pepper if needed (I never do for this gravy). Turn off the heat and allow to stand for about 10 minutes.
Take a jug or container with at least a litre volume and stand a sieve over it. Pass the gravy through the sieve a ladleful at a time, which will remove all the vegetables and leave you with a smooth gravy. Discard the vegetables and serve the gravy when ready.