Mushroom gravy to the rescue
The middle-school boy can be a fussy eater. Big surprise, right?
To make his life even more complicated, there are dietary restrictions in our home: the boy’s father has celiac disease (no wheat, no gluten) and doesn’t eat mammals. That means we end up eating a lot of chicken, some turkey and plenty of fish.
The boy loves fish. But he is generally sick of chicken. At breakfast, he says he is tired of eggs, even though our hens are back in full laying mode. I make a mean turkey meatloaf, but he claims to not like meatloaf. Sometimes I just buy him pork chops to keep him happy.
But my other secret weapon is mushrooms. The boy loves mushrooms.
At breakfast, I can fry up mushrooms and onions and serve them, kind of like hashbrowns, with his eggs. Suddenly, his eggs taste better.
And mushroom gravy makes everything taste better. Meatloaf with mushroom gravy has suddenly become a favorite meal. Leftover chicken is delicious — as long as it’s smothered in mushroom gravy.
We had meatloaf for Sunday dinner, and both the boy and our usual Sunday dinner guest were delighted. Our guest took a double helping of gravy on her meatloaf. The boy did one better — he also smothered his cornbread.
I make my mushroom gravy gluten-free by using potato starch as a thickener. You can use flour if there is no gluten sensitivity in your family, or corn starch if you don’t have potato starch on hand. You can use tapioca starch too, but it tends to clump up pretty quickly.
I use onions only when my friend Sara is not coming over for Sunday dinner. Sara hates onions.
Gluten-free mushroom gravy
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 pint containers of mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1 pint chicken broth
3 tablespoons potato starch
3 tablespoons butter
In a heavy frying pan, sauté onions until translucent, then add thinly sliced mushrooms. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or more, until they turn dark brown. Slow and steady makes for the tastiest mushrooms. You want them to start caramelizing.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add potato starch and stir with a fork or whisk to thoroughly combine. Stir frequently until the mixture becomes very thick.
Then add broth, a bit at a time and stir. Take your time. When the mixture thickens, add more broth and let it cook, stirring, until it thickens again. Then add more broth.
Once you’ve thickened up the gravy with the entire pint of broth, add the mushroom mixture. Stir and serve.
Leftovers can be refrigerated and used again, on top of some other meal. Because mushrooms make everything even better.
“In & Out of the Kitchen,” a wide-ranging column about cooking, eating and buying food, is written by Gazette staffers. You can reach us at email@example.com.