Thursday, June 7, 2007
Today is Matt's day off since he has to work this weekend. So the morning-off sausage gravy ritual began. Because my camera just HAPPENED to be in the kitchen, I decided now is as good a time as any to share the know-how for those who might like it. And thus-the recipe for this week was born.
When we were first married, I KNEW I needed to hone in on my gravy skills so I went online (who knows where!) and got a recipe for it. For the first year or so, I followed it meticulously, as I did ALL my recipes. I was not confident enough in my capabilities, to believe that variation could produce just-as-delicious (if not more so) results.
Now-five years later: somewhere between the first years end and the second years beginning, a light bulb went off in my head (or maybe just laziness when I couldn't find the written recipe) and I scratched the recipe and fudged my way through. I think it is even better now (and several people-have said mine is the best sausage gravy around. Well, okay. One of them was my husband, but still....) After that first year, I have adopted the 'that looks like enough' method versus measuring cups so I will write down the recipe that I first began with. I will also include *my* way to do it. I know I say this all the time but, please don't let recipes confine you. I still struggle with this at times, but when I just let it go and try my hand at it, I am rarely disappointed. The same will be true for you.
What makes my sausage gravy stand out from the crowd is a *little* something that ANYONE can do, even without changing their prized family heirloom recipe that they can't live without. It is simply to replace the regular sausage with maple sausage. That simple switch creates a bit of sweet that makes the gravy stand out from the rest. Marry that with freshly ground black peppercorns, and you will get a bit of sweet and a bit of spice, giving your gravy a distinction of its own. Of course, for different flavors, try the sage sausage or HOT sausage, if those flavors you would prefer...
If you will look at MY version, you will see some very important changes...namely, dirtying only ONE dish instead of two and ommitting some of the bad-for-you things. Personally, if you are brave enough...follow MY version. Of course, maybe I am just partial. ;-)
So without further ado...
The Written Recipe
1# (pound) ground sausage
3 T. bacon grease ( you don't need this at all-I rarely use it)
1/4 c. all purpose flour
3 c. milk
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1) Brown sausage in large skillet over medium high heat. Set aside, leaving drippings in the skillet.
2) Mix bacon grease into the sausage drippings. Reduce heat to medium, combine with flour and stir constantly until mixture turns goldbrown. Gradually whisk milk into skillet. When mixture is smooth, thickened and begins to bubble, return sausage to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Now MY turn!!!
Brown in a large skillet, 1 pound of maple sausage (-or-you could use a bit of maple syrup or extract for flavoring). When sausage is fully browned, dust the top with a healthy dose of flour and mix until it coats the meat. (If the meat does not produce much in the drippings department, then you can add some bacon grease. I usually don't have to...) Allow the meat, drippings and flour to meld for a minute or so and then pour milk in. Turn heat down to medium. I usually add milk as far as I can go while still avoiding a mess when stirring or boiling. Grind fresh peppercorns on top. (I usually omit the salt only because I figure sausage has enough salt in it!) Then, just let simmer until thickened.
Serve EITHER version with biscuits or toast.
There you have it!!!
This recipe is perfectly timed-try it out this weekend for a special treat! And if you do, let me know how you like it!