Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Country Gravy – Deliciously Dingy and Definitely Diner

This sausage country gravy recipe comes from a time before cooks tried to think of ways to trim a few calories, but rather, thought of ways to sneak more calories into a dish. This was a meal that was meant to fill you up and keep you satisfied for a long time.

In addition to the astronomically high calorie count, another advantage of a milk gravy that’s been thickened with a roux made from the rendered fat of meat scraps, is it’s very cheap. So, when you combine “cheap,” with “filling,” and “delicious,” you have all the makings of a diner classic, which this certainly is.

In a diner, this gravy (also known as sausage gravy or cream gravy) would be made with leftover cooked sausage links and other breakfast meat scrapes like crumbled bacon, or ham ends. Since we’re making ours from scratch, we have the advantage of all that freshly rendered fat to make the light roux.

This method is more authentic and flavorful, but admittedly does nothing to improve the recipe’s dingy color and questionable appearance. Let’s face it, some great recipes are just plain ugly and that’s the way it is. I used a low fat milk, which makes for the dingiest color, but whole milk or cream, if you want this extra rich, do look marginally better.

As I mention in the video, if you’ve eaten this before, and know how shockingly good it can be, the look of the dish never crosses your mind. If this were a blind date, the recipe would be described as being “really fun with an amazing personality.”

As far as serving suggestions go, you can’t miss with fresh baked buttermilk biscuits (even though I used store bought, we have a great recipe, which you can see here), but this is also out-of-this-world on things like country-fried steak, and fried chicken. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
8 oz breakfast sausage
4 strips bacon
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup packed all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
2 1/2 cups milk, more or less as needed

34 comments:

Jay M. said...

Be still my heart! How did you know my wish?

I had a country gravy skillet the other day going through Dubois, Wyoming that blew me away (you can find it on a map, just look for the town closest to absolutely nothing at all.)

I've been wanting to recreate it ever since.
Base layer: a pile of sauteed diced potatoes, onions, ham, green pepper, and tomatoes.
Middle layer: a split homemade biscuit smothered in country gravy.
Top layer: coupla eggs, over easy, with a good dose of hot sauce.

I CAN'T WAIT 'TIL THE MORNING!!

Anonymous said...

My version uses fresh cracked black pepper,red pepper flakes,a touch of garlic and soy sauce. The soy sauce adds a little color and a lot of flavor. People taste it and keep coming back for more. I will have to try the green onion and bacon approach soon.

foodwisher said...

chef jhon, yet agien you amaze me with your talent to starve your readers no matter how much they ate before watching your video!

as for the gravy "more to love"....

Grams Pam said...

My mouth is raining.

I have everything here to make this, but I need leave in 15 minutes!

Note to self: don't check Food Wishes before work. You will end up not enjoying your granola and vanilla yogurt as much as you thought you did.

Anonymous said...

Chef,
This is a good "COPY"
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/01/14/dining/20110119-pancakes.html?ref=dining

Monica said...

They serve it everywhere in Texas where they make breakfasts and the locals usually carry the effects on their portly bodies!

philogaia said...

I've been making this for years (yet another reason I'll never be a skinny woman.) I just love country gravy for a treat. One thing you say is that when it thickens that is as thick as it will get. Well, sort of. As the gravy cools it will thicken more. I find I want to leave it a bit thinner than I want and by the time I get to serving it is the right consistency.

Anonymous said...

Chef,
Do you have a relative working for the Times? Once is a coincidence, twice ,I start to wonder. If it's three times and it's Country Gravy, you should be on "their" payroll..
just looking out for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

I love your vids and have made well over 10 of your receipes. In searching for some more good stuff to cook I notice that this video is not working on your site:

Spaghetti Al Tonno - Tuna…Hamburger of the Sea?

Could you please fix this, I'd love to try this receipe.

Thanks!

CDByrom said...

My stars! One of my absolute favorite things in the world, which I of course almost never eat because it's so, so terrible for you. But I'm intensely skeptical of any biscuits and gravy outside of the south. I once ordered it at a diner in Chicago after driving all night, and the putrid, lumpy sludge that sat on my plate was enough to ruin my whole trip!

Jenna said...

This is one of my hubby's favorite dinners! I've never put bacon or green onions in it before though, will have to try that!

Anonymous said...

I never really thought of it as "ugly" before.. I guess it is. I've been devouring this stuff since I was a kid. Unfortunately, everyone around here seems to be going the packaged gravy route (duh duh DUUUUUH!) which is definitely not worth the calorie hit. We have so many Northerner's moving into Florida that the old school recipes seem to take a hit. I've got a camping trip next month though, for which I had already planned on making the scrapple. Might as well go... hog wild (doh!) and make this gravy too. Thanks for your continued efforts to expand the Casual Male XL empire :-)
-Pyrofish

mialatina said...

I am making this right now!

On behalf of my family thank you for coming into our lives! I am not a great cook and I made thanksgiving (Canadian) dinner this past weekend! I turned to your how to cook a turkey (2 parts), your Mac and cheese casserole and your heavenly gravy! With your help I am becoming a much better cook! I recommend you to everyone I know! Also your wings and your buffalo wing sauce are a big hit in my home...oh and your lasagna!!! So you are 6-0 in our home!!!

Much love from Canada! And may you continue to have much deserved success!!

Mia

DrEEE said...

Chef Jean, thank you very much for this great recipe! :)

Josh said...

While i normally think your recipes are great, this one is perchance a tad too city-fied for my taste, most true "Sausage Gravy's" as they are referred to in the south, are nothing but Sausage, Onion, Garlic, Pepper, Salt, Milk, Flour...no bacon or Green Onion...im sure yours it delicious and you do follow the traditional process of using the drippings from the meat for the roux...although my family usually takes the roux a little darker to end up with a more colorful finish...

Anonymous said...

I always thought of country gravy as being either plain or with sausage. I would always add more butter. The bacon and onions look good.

By the way, in the heyday of country gravy skim milk would have been considered an adulteration.

Your fans will roux the day they try this.

Jim

Chris K. said...

I would like to remind all our dear, overly critical friends living below the Mason-Dixon line that country gravy is merely an inbred cousin of the celebrated béchamel sauce, codified by a famous 19th century chef named Antonin Carême, in his work L'Art de la Cuisine Française.

Nobody "owns" any culinary tradition and authenticity is a myth. It's all just food, and it all comes out the same in the end. Literally. Think about that.

My favorite country gravy application is chicken fried steak. Which is a stupid name, because there's no chicken in it. It's a breaded and deep-fried piece of beef. What the hell is wrong with this country?

Jay M. said...

Not sure how bacon and green onions makes something "city-fied," but I made a batch this morning and it was pretty fantastic. I think the addition adds some nice flavor, though I wish I'd read Joshes comment earlier and thrown in some garlic!

I also let the roux darken a bit more (by accident, the thick bacon hadn't gotten crisp enough when I added the flour) and the end color was actually very nice, even though there was only skim milk in the house.

Thanks Chef!

DukeCitySnapShooter said...

Oh Yes!!! SOS!!! The greatest breakfast known to Man! When I was in Infantry school and Airborne school at Ft. Benning, GA, this was the chow that started your day and got you through it! You can use beef and add some Worcestershire sauce instead of the pork if you want. Add some eggs and you have a Mans meal.

jennibell said...

Thank you for all these recipes!!! My kids are having fun watching and making shopping lists. . .the videos are great.

Anonymous said...

Can I use yellow onion? I can't seem to find green onion in my country. Thank you.

Chef John said...

Yes!

Anonymous said...

Although I have never had it with bacon and green onions, I believe they would be a great addition. The idea that this is a southern only dish is very wrong. I grew up in Upper Michigan and my father (mother not in the home) made this several times per week for breakfast, lunch or dinner. He didn't do biscuits but tore up pieces of toast to put it on. To this day (50 yrs later) I still crave it and make it at least once a month. We were dirt poor but always had a full belly using basic dishes like this one.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the recipe state 4 oz sausage?

i used 8 oz and there was alot of oil floating on top of my gravy.

Or did i do something wrong? its the first time cooking gravy...still tasted amazing :)

Chef John said...

no it's 8! you had fatty sausage. you can just skin from the top.

Mamun said...

Very nice post. I not only discovered your blog, I feel like I 'got to know you'. Good luck in the challenge.

country cooking

Jonathan Baugh said...

Chef, is is acceptable to render the fat from the meat, then remove the meat and onions and add flour and pepper to the fat to make the roux, cook the flour then add half and half, get it to desired consistency and then add back the meat and onions and heat it to simmering? This is the method that I am accustomed to.

Chef John said...

Of course! Make it any way you enjoy! It's your gravy! :)

Sssttine said...

Chef, How long can you store this in the fridge or freezer? Thanks.

Sssttine said...

Chef, how long can this gravy be stored in the fridge?

Chef John said...

Not sure! Never kept for more than 2 or 3 days.

David J said...

You always cut and prep meat on your nice wooden cutting board (or countertop, can't tell). Aren't you worried about bacteria? Or is this another of those food network goofs trying to get us to buy their kohls plastic boards?

Chef John said...

I'll leave you to do your own research online, but a wooden cutting board is just as safe, if not more safe, than plastic ones! As long as cleaned properly of course.

Gian D said...

Mine's kept for 5 days in the fridge so far. It gets thick so I had to reheat in a pan with some milk. It loses some of its flavor but it is still rich and delicious.