We’re a week post-Canadian Thanksgiving and while most of the country has returned to their regularly scheduled menus, I’m stuck on gravy and biscuits and leftover turkey on roasted-celery-studded bread. I’m a glutton for holiday flavours, what can I say.
My dad joined us for dinner last Monday, and while I was happy to make a meat main course for him and my husband, I had my sights set on a rich red wine and mushroom gravy that was a little out of the ordinary for them. To my surprise, and I’m sure theirs (when I tell them), neither said a word about the switch but both ended up licking their plates. I consider it a huge success when my meat and potatoes family swoons over a vegetarian swap out in place of super traditional, don’t-dare-leave-it-out holiday menu items. After that win, I wanted to experiment a bit more… who doesn’t need an excuse to “test” gravy all week?
This southern-style white gravy is vegetarian but could easily be made vegan with dairy-free alternatives. It’s smoky and rich, studded with meaty portobello and re-hydrated wild mushrooms, and would be bomb on either biscuits, as we used it here, over mashed potatoes or yams, smothered over fried chicken or cauliflower… just about anywhere a sausage gravy can go, this white mushroom gravy is ideal, too!
Pumpkin and rosemary are a classic flavour pairing and they only get better when you add butter and flour. These biscuits can be eaten solo, topped with piping hot gravy, spread with butter and a drizzle of honey or maple, or stuffed with slaw, leftover turkey or roasted chicken, and cranberry sauce. No matter how you fill them, they make for a special treat on the weekend table.
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Flaky, buttery biscuits smothered in a southern-inspired smoky mushroom gravy.
For the Biscuits
2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup roasted pumpkin puree
3/4 cup whole milk, or dairy-free alternative
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
For the Gravy
3/4 cup dried wild mushrooms (any combination of porcini, oyster, Boletes, chanterelles, hedgehogs, lobster etc)
3 cups boiling water
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
8oz fresh portabello mushrooms, diced
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp spicy smoked paprika, depending on how spicy you like it
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk (or favourite unsweetened dairy-free alternative)
For the Biscuits
Preheat oven to 425.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, salt and pepper.
Cut in the butter cubes into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives until pieces are no large than pea-sized. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes while you whisk the wet ingredients.
In smaller bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, milk, honey and rosemary.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together just until incorporated and coming together into a ball. Don’t overwork it or you’ll have tough biscuits. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into rough 6×9-inch rectangle. Cut that rectangle into thirds width-wise and stack them on top of each other. Roll out again into a 16×9-inch rectangle.
Using a 2 1/4 or 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut 8-10 biscuits out and place them on a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet. Piece together the scraps and use up all the dough with the layering technique, without overworking the dough or melting the butter with your warm hands. Place in the freezer for a few minutes if it’s starting to get too warm.
Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes in your preheated oven or until golden brown on the top and bottom.
For the Gravy
In a large bowl, pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms and let sit for 30 minutes.
Set a large skillet over medium heat and add a few glugs of olive oil along with the onions and fresh mushrooms and let them cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. Stir occasionally while they cook until starting to brown, 5 minutes.
Strain the wild mushrooms reserving the liquids for use in another recipe, see notes, diced the mushrooms up and add to the pan along with the sprig of thyme, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Let all the flavours cook together, mixing occasionally, for another 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook for another 2 minutes. Everything should be super fragrant and browned, almost dried out looking and starting to stick to the pan.
Add the milk, scraping up any stuck on bits and all the flavour from the bottom of the pan, and whisk it all together until it is thickened to desired consistency. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more pepper or salt if needed. It’s too thick, add more milk or some of the dried mushroom liquid to thin it out.
Serve biscuits warm from the oven, sliced in half and smothered in gravy.
Leftover biscuits can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week. I like to warm for a few minutes in the oven or 10 seconds in the microwave if you prefer.
Use leftover wild mushroom liquid to add flavour to soups, stews, risotto, and pasta sauces.