Vegetarian gravy

A good vegetarian gravy is really important if you are making a nut roast, a vegetable wellington or other such Sunday lunch treats for a vegetarian lunch. In order to get a full depth of flavour make sure that you sweat down the vegetables long and slow. You can make this a day or two ahead and keep it covered in the fridge until you need it or it freezes well.

Ingredients
1 carrot
1 onion
2 portobellini mushrooms
10g dried porcini mushrooms
1 bay leaf
a handful of parsley stalks
splash of olive oil
a knob of butter
1 tbsp red wine
1 tbsp madeira
2 tbsp plain flour
300 ml vegetable stock

Method
Chop the vegetables really small – I find the easiest way is to whiz them in a mini blender)and break the porcini into small pieces. Heat the oil and butter in a medium saucepan, then add the vegetables and sweat on a low heat for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, make sure they do not burn. Once the vegetables are lightly coloured, remove the bayleaf and add the flour stirring well to mix in. Add the red wine and madeira and stir until it is evaporated and you have a loose roux. Gradually add the vegetable stock, again stirring to form a thickish sauce. Leave to cook on a low heat with a lid on to ensure that the flour cooks out. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then strain through a fine sieve, pushing all the juices and flavour out of the vegetables with a spoon. Reheat and serve

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