Throughout most of his life, my dad did very little kitchen cooking – he of course ran the charcoal grill – and I had no idea he was a real cook. Later in life he did more and more of the cooking at his house and it turns out his mama taught him well. I still use many of his recipes and techniques today. I wish he’d lived next door rather than 600 miles away, so I could have learned a lot more. In hindsight, I wish I’d either have loved to cook as a child or I’d been made to do it whether I wanted to or not. Because now, I’d love to be able to make a pie crust like my mom, a pot roast and yeast rolls like grandma, and you get the point.
One of the dishes Dad did teach me was simple sausage gravy and that means it has sausage in it. Around these parts most restaurants serve more of an off-white paste with a little bit of a sausage flavor – my understanding from one of them is that they tried putting more meat in the gravy and the customers complained. Oh well, to each his own I guess.
Here’s the way he taught me to make it. Over medium heat, start by browning your favorite breakfast sausage and breaking into small pieces – I usually use Wamplers (from Lenoir City), Swaggerty’s (from Sevierville), Sloans (of Vonore) store made or my own. For this recipe leaner is better as I don’t drain the grease unless it has a lot.
When the meat is brown and the grease has been adjusted, sprinkle in your flour in two batches and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. I have a wooden spoon with one flat side that works well for the stirring process.
Begin adding your milk about a cup at a time, stirring constantly and getting the fond from the bottom of the pan. I like to under-add the milk then add more to achieve the desired consistency. Turn the heat up a little and bring to a low boil – stirring constantly. Cook about 5 more minutes, add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust milk if needed. When at the desired consistency it’s ready. I was too busy to snap a picture during the milk adding process, but here's the finished product.
The recipe I used for this batch was:
1.6# Pork breakfast sausage
½ cup Flour
5 cups Milk
1 tsp Kosher salt
10 grinds Black pepper
Serve it up over some hot biscuits, take your Lipitor, and dive in. I usually don’t side it with anything as I make it so seldom, I don’t want anything else to detract from it.
Have a great day.