This deeply flavoured vegetarian onion gravy can be made with beef or chicken stock if you prefer but I often don’t bother to tell guests the difference.
We recently had a little dinner party to celebrate Spouse’s birthday, where we served a prime rib roast with this delicious vegetarian onion gravy. The secret to this gravy is the same as in the recently featured St. John’s Stout and Steak Soup; that secret is slowly and carefully caramelized onions.
What the meat eating guests didn’t know was that their gravy was the same as the vegetarians, who particularly loved this rich, deeply flavoured gravy over crisp roasted potatoes.
As the 2 photos above show, the volume of the onions gets greatly reduced through the slow cooking processes, concentrating the flavor and bringing out the natural sweetness. This gravy can be made with any kind of stock including vegetable stock for a vegetarian option.
You might also like our collection of Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes, which are also great at Christmas or at family dinners year round.
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- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 quarts/liters low sodium or sodium free beef stock or chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 pounds chopped Spanish onion
- 2 large shallots chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp ground thyme or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to season
Begin by simmering the stock until it is almost reduced in volume by half.
Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan and add the garlic and onions. Cook until the onions soften, caramelize and turn golden brown, tossing constantly every 2 or 3 minutes. I reduce the heat several times during this process. This can take considerable time; a half hour or longer. The more you caramelize the onions the better the flavor of your gravy.
Add the caramelized onion to the reduced beef stock along with the nutmeg & thyme. Simmer for only a few minutes before thickening the gravy by whisking in a slurry made from a couple of tablespoons of flour dissolved into 3/4 cup water. At this point you can serve the gravy with whole pieces of onion or if you prefer, you can blend it to a smoother consistency using an immersion blender or in small batches in a food processor. Makes about 2 liters nd freezes well in small airtight plastic containers.
This recipe makes a particularly large batch because I either always have a lot of people to serve or I plan to freeze some for later. You can easily make a half batch if you prefer.