I know y’all remember when I made biscuits a few months back. I know because I been gettin’ a whole bunch of requests for gravy since. It seems there’s a lot of red-blooded Americans out there that know that biscuits ain’t shit without gravy. I heard you. And I agree. So here’s how to make gravy, a.k.a. sausage gravy. a.k.a. white gravy, a.k.a. cream gravy, a.k.a. country gravy.
I don’t know any more A.K.A.s for it but if you do, pass them on to me. That will help when I get to work on my Gravy Compendium.
But this is one of the very first things I remember learning. My dad used to make chicken-fried steak with cream gravy (minus the sausage, of course) and I marveled at how fast he could whip up some gravy without even using a recipe. Turns out, it was easy enough for a nine year old to master. And if my spastic, clumsy, fairy-tale-reading, magic-fox-believing-in, nine-year-old self could make gravy, I know you can, too.
And something awesome that you may not realize about gravy, is that gravy is essentially a bechamel! That is correct. Learn to make gravy and you are one-quarter of the way to mastering all four of the classic French “mother sauces”. Actually, even closer, since three out of the four are based on making a roux and using that to thicken your sauce. Think about that. Gravy’s looking a helluva lot cooler now, isn’t it?
Since gravy is so flexible, this is more about technique than qualitative measurements. As long as you have a whisk and a 5-minute attention span, you can make gravy. I plomise.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, sausage/bacon grease, or lard (or 3-4 T butter)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk, or fake milk
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- Heat your fat over medium to medium-low heat until melted and warm. Sprinkle the flour over the fat and use a whisk to stir that around. You will almost immediately have a very thick paste in your skillet or pot. This is what’s called the roux (that’s French!).
- Continue stirring it slowly with the whisk for 30 seconds to a minute. You can cook it longer if you want a darker roux, but for cream gravy (and a bechamel) you want to keep it “blonde”, which is a very light brown in the world of roux.
- Okay, now, keep stirring while you add about ½ c of your milk in a slow stream. Then whisk it faster to get the milk incorporated. It will be like really thick, sludgy gravy now. Make sure you whisk it fast enough to break up any lumps.
- Add another ½ c of milk and whisk again to incorporate.
- Add your salt and pepper.
- Now you can add the last of the milk, whisk, then turn the heat down very low and let the gravy simmer until it’s the consistency you want. (If it gets too thick on you, just add a tablespoon or two of milk at a time until it thins out again.)
- Serve it!
If you want a real sausage gravy, fry up some pork sausage crumbles and remove from the skillet. Make the gravy with the sausage drippings and then add the sausage chunks back in. Serve over split biscuits.
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