Super Fast & Easy Outstanding Vegan Gravy
2 cans vegan vegetable barley soup* (NOT condensed, Amys Organics is really good for this recipe)
1 - 2 cups mushrooms, amount to taste, thinly sliced. Plain old button are fine, any fancier kind are good, too.
1 - 2 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
2 teaspoon Tekka** (or to taste)
fresh parsley to taste, chopped (about 1/2 cup is good), optional
Totally puree both cans of soup in a blender until all barley lumps are gone and texture is silky and smooth.
Heat oil in a small skillet and gently sauté mushrooms until tender. Add parsley mid-way if you want to use parsley. (You can add other flourishes like some minced shallot, a couple of tablespoons of vegan wine, etc., at this point if you want, but they are really not necessary.)
When mushrooms are soft, add the pureed soup and heat through. Add tekka to taste and allow the whole thing to simmer gently (DO NOT BOIL) for up about 4 minutes.
* If you are a purist, of course, you can make your own vegetable barley soup or use left-overs (about 3 cups). Just make sure the barley is somewhat overcooked so you don't get lumps. If you can only find concentrated or condensed soup, use one can of soup and add half a can of water in the blender, then more water as needed for consistency when heating it up.
** Tekka is a traditional Japanese condiment available in most health food stores macrobiotic section. Eden is the easiest brand to find. It is a dense, rather salty combination of roasted root vegetables (mostly carrot and burdock) preserved in miso, that looks a bit like coffee grounds, but dissolves in a minute or so in hot liquids. A little goes a long way. It is a very nutritious and mild form of miso, and gives a rich, roasted, authentically gravy-ish taste to vegan food.
This gravy was a big success at our Thanksgiving this year, and even went over well with the turkey eaters. The barley, tekka and parsley help with digestion of the heavier holiday protein and fat load.