Mix Up Your Mushrooms For An Earthier Gravy

Mushroom gravy is an overlooked all-star of the kitchen. Whether it's smothering a steak, or spooned over a mound of creamy mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy brings an umami punch that will take a meal from good to throw-your-head-back great. The power of mushroom gravy is that it works in a surprising amount of places. It can bring savory, meaty flavor to a plate of roasted vegetables without any meat at all, but its earthiness can also balance out the fat and salt of a sausage. It finds particular harmony with rich, buttery dishes, and if there is any better use for mushrooms than simmering them into a gravy and spooning it over creamy polenta, we haven't found it.

Mushroom gravy is also relatively easy — you're just some browned mushrooms, flour, and stock away from a basic one right now. It's easy enough that you might not want to go through the trouble of buying two or three different varieties when you could just snag some creminis and still make a good gravy. But part of the fun of mushrooms is that they come in a wide variety of different types, each bringing their own flavor and textural differences. So why not make your mushroom gravy as good as it can be? Take advantage of mushrooms' natural diversity, and mix up the mushrooms in your gravy for an earthier, more complex sauce.

Using multiple mushroom types brings depth and extra flavor to gravy

You don't need to go crazy grabbing the most expensive chanterelles from your local farmers market to make great mushroom gravy, you can just get one extra style from the grocery store and still be in for a great upgrade. According to Serious Eats, using a combination of different styles ups the mushroom power of the gravy, leading to a sauce that fully embraces the rich flavor of mushrooms instead of leaning too heavily on the stock or other flavors. Cremini or portobello mushrooms can still make a great base for your gravy, but mixing in some extra meaty porcinis, or some smokey and complex shiitakes, will add that little extra something to make your mushroom gravy truly special.

Dried mushrooms in particular are a great way to add more mushroom flavor to gravy. You might not think the difference would be huge, but dried mushrooms have a more concentrated flavor than fresh, and while their texture might not be ideal for some uses, they work great in soups and sauces. Just think of the difference in flavor you get from fresh jalapeño and dried chipotle chiles, and you'll start to understand how dried mushrooms can bring new layers of depth to your gravy. 

Fresh or dried, opening up to the wide world of mushrooms will do wonders for your gravy, and your chicken and meatloaf along with it.