What an interesting word. It can mean “easy” like: “Oh that’s all I have to do? That’s gravy!”
To people who have grown up with an Italian influence in their life it may mean their tomato sauce. I didn’t know this for a long time however, until I had a district manager, who had an Italian influence from his family, at one of my older retail jobs. I think we were talking about dinner the previous night and I had made pasta. He said to me “Did you make your own gravy?” To which I replied “Not last night but I make sausage gravy, chip beef gravy, my Meemaw has even made hot dog gravy and hamburger gravy.” He laughed at me big time and started to explain that gravy is the sauce for the pasta, but it has to be homemade to call it gravy.
To me, this sheltered country boy that grew up in two stoplight town surrounded by mountains, cows, cornfields, and turkey houses, gravy meant some sort of fat, cooked with some flour, and then adding some milk and simmered until thickened, and by golly that’s what it still means to me today. I’ll NEVER call pasta sauce gravy………with all due respect.
Don’t rush to judgement…
You may be thinking to yourself “What the hell is in that jar with all of your other ingredients?” That, my good friends, is canned sausage. This is what I use in my sausage gravy, but normally you would just use normal ground sausage. I’d tell you all about it, but that is for a whole different blog post in itself. Anyways….
This sausage gravy is made in that same way, with a couple twists that really bump up the flavor. It’s super easy, very quick, and tastes 1,500 times better than the stuff from a can or bag.
With this recipe, I’ve thrown in a simple biscuit recipe for you to try out as well (not my recipe find it’s home here and more info to follow), however, my family loves it on almost any kind of bread that we have on hand. A toasted slice of sandwich bread is one of my favorites and occasionally there’s a left-over hot dog or hamburger bun that it’ll get thrown on top of. I’ll also pile it on some scrambled eggs with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. If you’re really adventurous, spoon some on some pancakes and drizzle the whole shebang with syrup. The salty-sweet contrast is AMAZING. The bottom line is, no matter how you choose to enjoy this dish, it’s quick, simple, and oh so delicious.
For the gravy:
Brown that sausage. You really want it to get that nice crust to it, but don’t cook all of the grease out of it. That’s going to help keep that sausage flavor throughout the gravy. Depending on your sausage you may also have to drain some fat. That’s fine, but you definitely want a nice layer of grease on the bottom of the skillet. I like to use 12″ non-stick skillet with high sides. I use it for a lot of skillet served dishes because it hold so dang much and it’s got a nifty grip on the opposite side of the handle to help support the weight. My go to is T-Fal’s…check it out here: T-fal 12″ 5 Quart Covered Clear Glass Lid Non-stick Frying Pan Skillet Cooker
Stir in your flour and cook it for a minute or so. It should soak up most of the grease in the skillet. For this gravy, you don’t want to brown to flour.
Next, I like to throw in my seasoned salt. Yes, seasoned salt. You can definitely make your own which I fully support, but I use it in so many quick little things at home that we buy it in the bulk container. Throw it in and stir until incorporated.
Now, we add the milk. Slowly, now! As you’re pouring it in, continuously stir. Whole milk will have a richer flavor because of the fat, but in all honesty, I use whatever we have on hand and that’s usually 1%.
Chuck some black pepper in that stuff. In my mind, it’s just not gravy without black pepper.
Now cook for about 5 minutes or so, or until it reaches a consistency of your liking. If it gets too thick, thin it out with a little more milk, and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
Spoon it onto your gravy vehicle of choice (gravy train haha) and let the comfort begin.
For the biscuits:
Full disclosure, the biscuit recipe is not my recipe. This recipe comes from Alton Brown, whom I deeply admire and will blindly trust any and all of his recipes. I’m a definite fan boy. In fact, my amazing wife got me his most recent cook book, Everyday Cook, for Christmas. I highly recommend it! Anyways, I wanted to include a quick and easy biscuit recipe that I knew I could trust. I’m working on my own biscuit recipe to call my own, but that is down the road, and will be in its own blog post. I’ll add the link here once it’s up.
Get that oven hot n’ ready. 450 degrees F.
Whisk your dry ingredients together. Some people like to sift. I’m too lazy. Dump it in a bowl, stir a couple times, boom.
Next, cut up your butter into, say, eight pieces or so and scatter around on the flour. Throw that shortening in there too. I used a pastry blender incorporate the fat into the flour mixture, but Alton says to use your fingertips so as not to melt the fats. You want them to remain as solid as possible until they bake.
Well, well, well….
Make a mound of your dry ingredients in the middle of your mixing bowl and make a hole in that mound. Guess what’s going in there?
You guessed it…your buttermilk! Pour it into the well and stir just until it’s combined. No more. It’ll be super sticky. Speaking of the buttermilk, I don’t buy buttermilk…ever. I make my own as I need it. All you need is milk and white vinegar. Take a scant cup of milk and add a tablespoon of the vinegar and let it set for 10 minutes or so. Boom, homemade buttermilk, because who needs a half gallon of buttermilk at a time? I know I don’t.
That dough though…
Turn it out onto a floured countertop. Dust the dough with some more flour and fold it over onto itself a couple of times.
Make sure your dough isn’t sticking to the counter. Put some more flour down if needed.
Press your dough into circle about an inch thick. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a perfect circle.
Next, take a round biscuit or cookie cutter (about a 2 inch, but just as long as it’s not a huge one, it should work) and cut your biscuits out of the dough. I’ve never invested in biscuit cutters, so I use anything straight sided with a decent edge on it. Mason jars, glasses, plastic cups, whatever floats your boat. Also don’t make the same mistake I did and cut them too big. I realized this before baking them and just reduced the time by a few minutes and they turned out just fine, but they weren’t as tall and airy as they can be. See! We’re learning together!
Also don’t pull them out as you cut each one. Wait until the end that way you can get as many out of each go around as possible. Each time you work the dough, the less airy they get. Pull all your scraps together and reshape them into your 1 inch thick circle and repeat so you can use all the dough you can.
Lay those bad boys on a baking sheet to where they are just barely touching each other. We’ve been using the same AirBake baking sheet for year upon year upon years. Get yourself one here and never buy another baking sheet again: 3-Piece Insulated Nonstick Aluminum Baking Sheet Set by AirBake
Did you pre-heat?
Hopefully, your oven is ready and waiting for those biscuits, so give em’ up and bake them for about 15-20 or until they are a nice golden brown on top. I always like to grab one and open it up to check for doneness just to be safe. Yeah that’s right, to check for doneness…so what if I dip it in the gravy? Can you blame me?
2 lb Ground Breakfast Sausage
½ cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp seasoned salt or to taste
3.5-4 cups milk
Black Pepper to taste
1. Brown the sausage in a non-stick skillet. Leave enough grease to coat the bottom of the skillet.
2. Add the flour and stir to soak up the grease and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Add seasoned salt and stir to incorporate.
4. Slowly add in milk, stirring while adding to thoroughly combine.
5. Cook the gravy for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly until your desired consistency is reached. If the gravy is too thick, thin it out with more milk and adjust the seasonings.
6. Add some black pepper to taste and serve!
2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour.
3. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, incorporate the fats into the dry mixture until coarse crumbs form.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk.
5. Stir until just combined and thhe dough will be very sticky.
6. Turn out onto floured countertop. Flatten to 1 inch thick disk
7. Cut out biscuits with a 2 inch biscuit cutter or other small cutting apparatus and place onto baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough until all is used up, however, try not to work the left over dough too much.
8. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.