Why It Works
- Combining fresh cremini with rehydrated dried porcinis gives this gravy a robust, earthy mushroom flavor.
- Optionally using a mixture of chicken and beef stock produces a gravy that is full and rich without overpowering the mushroom flavor.
- A splash of sherry mixed in at the very end results in a brighter taste and creates a contrast that brings out the mushrooms even more forcefully.
In a world full of different gravy recipes, this classic stands out for its deeply savory and earthy flavor. It's as good with roast chicken or turkey as it is with a roasted beef, pork chops, or spooned on top of anything from string beans to mashed potatoes. The recipe is simple, as long as you make sure to build a deep mushroom flavor. Here's how.
A good mushroom gravy should put the mushrooms front and center—I wanted that earthy, woodsy flavor to be clean and present. That meant reaching for a combination of fresh cremini mushrooms and dried porcini, which together deliver a one-two punch of mushroom intensity. The porcinis have the added benefit of flavoring the stock more deeply as they steep in it to soften.
Mushrooms are just half the battle, though. The stock is another critically important component. You have options here. The easiest is to grab some good quality store-bought chicken stock, which produces a flavorful gravy thanks to all the work the mushrooms are doing. Of course, you can make this gravy even more delicious with homemade stock, which has a richer, deeper, and more complex flavor than most store-bought options.
We don't typically recommend store-bought beef stock, as its flavor is typically a far cry from any kind of real beef stock, but if you have homemade beef stock, you can certainly add it here for an even meatier flavor profile. In our own testing, though, we found that beef stock alone can overpower the gravy, so we recommend blending with chicken stock (even store-bought is fine if using two stocks) to cut its intensity.
For a vegetarian option, a homemade vegetable stock works well here as well, but we'd recommend taking the time to make a more flavorful vegetable stock than the most basic types to pack even more flavor in.
Many mushroom gravy recipes call for wine, but even a small amount of red wine whisked in right before I added the stock left the gravy with a sourness that distracted from the unadulterated mushroom flavor. On the other hand, a splash of sherry mixed in at the very end made the gravy taste brighter and created a contrast that seemed to bring out the mushrooms even more forcefully.
Just a bit of fresh thyme goes a long way towards infusing even more woodsy flavor into the gravy.
So in the end, it was simply a mix of mushrooms, stock, and a little sherry that ruled the day. The result is an intensely mushroomy gravy that would find a good home on steak, mashed potatoes, biscuits, or smothered on breaded and fried pork chops.
After additional testing in 2022, we have lightly updated the recipe to improve flavor and gravy consistency.
4 cups (1L) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken, or an equal-parts combination of homemade beef stock with either type of chicken stock, or a robust vegetable stock
1/2 ounce (14g) dried porcini mushrooms
6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, washed, stemmed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 4 cups sliced mushrooms)
4 tablespoons (32g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30ml) dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, plus picked thyme leaves for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add porcini mushrooms. Let steep until mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving stock. Roughly chop mushrooms.
Wash and dry saucepan. Add butter and cook over medium heat until foaming subsides, the add porcini and cremini mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes.
Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Slowly whisk in reserved stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until gravy has thickened and reduced to 3 cups (710ml), 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in sherry and continue to cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as desired, garnishing with thyme leaves.
We recommend either homemade or store-bought chicken stock, or a combination of homemade beef stock with either type of chicken stock.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The finished gravy can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week; reheat over medium-low heat before serving.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6g||7%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||18%|
|Total Carbohydrate 5g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|