Anyone who has read much of anything on my blog knows one thing: the hubs likes gravy. I might have said this before, so if I did you can skip ahead, but gravy is the one single item I have made tens of dozens of times. I have made it in every form and flavor you can think of and I have strived for perfection. In my little mind the sign of a truly dedicated cook is being able to produce a perfect gravy without much thought. Now, this is of course a subjective thought and I am sure it is born of the fact that it is the single most requested food item in my house.
I have spent the better part of the last six years making gravy. Lumpy gravy, soupy gravy, thinner than water gravy, perfectly thick gravy, too thick gravy, smooth silky gravy, and the list goes on. But in the last two years I have developed a consistently good, thick, creamy gravy. This can be milk based or broth based, either way my process is always the same and the result is too: Good gravy!
Make gravy, lots of it, make it good and make it bad and learn from each rendition. Get angry when it sucks and rejoice when it is lovely and you get wonderful compliments from the hubs or the kids, or even the in-laws! Eventually, you will have your perfect mix, your perfect combination that makes your very own good gravy. This is mine for sausage gravy:
Pork Sausage Gravy.
1/4 C + 3 T all purpose flour
4 T unsalted butter or bacon grease
3 C milk (I use 1%)
1/2 lb bulk breakfast sausage (I use sage)
1/4 t fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t dried thyme, crushed
***Added 1/1/12: Add 1-2 tablespoons of buttermilk to the final product to give it an umph! I wish I had thought of this little secret ingredient before!
Cook sausage in large sauce pan. Remove and set aside. Add butter to pan and melt with pork fat from the sausage over medium heat (if you cut the fat by using turkey you will need to add more butter to keep your roux moist). Add flour and mix into a smooth paste (roux). Allow the roux to cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Increase heat to the low side of medium-high. Add one cup of milk and combine with a whisk until the roux is smooth. Whisk 1/2 cup of milk into mixture at a time and combine completely, allowing to thicken between additions. Add salt, pepper, and thyme. Allow mixture to come to a bubble and reduce heat to low. Add sausage and mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve over biscuits, waffles, or any other item you are craving!