People love to talk about “sweater weather,” but—to me—the changing leaves and dropping temperatures mark the beginning of gravy weather. Much like a sweater, gravy makes everything it enrobes feel a little warmer and cozier, and both sweaters and gravies are better when they’re on the thick side. That’s where the similarities end however, and although I am utterly incapable of making a sweater, I can make a very good bowl (or boat) of gravy.
One of my favorites is a very simple (incidentally vegetarian) onion gravy that can be made with nothing more than an onion, a little butter, a little flour, and about a cup of vegetable stock. Depending on how flavorful your stock is, you may need some salt and pepper, and you should also feel free to doctor it with whatever flavorful additions you see fit. (My favorites are apple juice and/or miso paste, particularly if I’m having pork chops.)
Like any gravy, the key to keeping things smooth and lump-free lies in coating your flour with fat before adding any liquid, and what better way to do this than sprinkling it over a buttery mess of sautéed onions? Let the flour absorb the oniony butter, cook it a little longer to get rid of that raw flour flavor, then add your favorite stock and simmer until it’s nice and thick. It could not be easier. To make it, you will need:
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups vegetables stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: apple juice, or miso paste
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat, and cook the onions in the hot butter until they are soft and a little browned on the edges. Sprinkle the flour over the onions, stir to coat, then cook for another minute until the flour starts to smell toasty. Gradually add about a cup and a half of the stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until it thickens to your desired gravy viscosity. If it gets too thick, add a little more stock.
Give your gravy a taste and add salt and pepper if needed. If you want an apple onion gravy, splash in a couple tablespoons of apple juice. If you want a miso onion gravy, whisk in a tablespoon of miso paste. If you want to go crazy, add them both.