Carolyn’s Mushroom Gravy

I’ve not found many British mushroom recipes during WWII however I know they were used…

I love mushrooms, I don’t often buy them because they are expensive but on special occasions I’ll buy them or if they are reduced to 50% I’ll grab a couple of tubs and make lots of my favourite 1940s inspired mushroom gravy using bisto powder, marmite and wild thyme from my garden.

It makes a delicious gravy and when it cools down it thickens up beautifully and is marvellous used inside a Lord Woolton Pie or in vegetable turnovers or in pasties..

Although my diet is meat free (being vegan), during the war, many meals were meat free and a nice thick meaty tasting mushroom gravy must have been an easy way to make a plateful of vegetables and a shortcrust pastry come alive.


Mushroom gravy

  • Tub of mushrooms
  • 1 onion or a small leek finely chopped
  • Some mixed vegetables finely chopped (optional)
  • Clove of garlic peeled and pierced (optional)
  • Thyme (dried or fresh)
  • I dessertspoon of Bisto gravy powder
  • 1 teaspoon or marmite
  • 2 teacups of left over vegetable water (plain water will be fine if not)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Saute your finely chopped mushrooms and onion (or leek) in a couple teaspoons or margarine until softened
  2. Mix up the bisto powder into a thin paste using some of the vegetable water or plain water
  3. Pour the rest of the water into the pan over the top of the mushrooms and onion
  4. When its warm add the bisto, teaspoon of marmite, the clove or garlic and thyme and mix together and keep stirring gently until the gravy begins to thicken, add more water if too thick..
  5. Taste and add salt and pepper or more herbs and cook on medium for about 15-20 minutes until the gravy becomes nice and dark and the taste more concentrated. Remove the garlic clove
  6. Serve with vegetables and potatoes or use cold in a Lord Woolton Pie or pasties before baking in the oven

Serves 4