There is no better way to impress the men in my home than with some sausage gravy. When I married Paul, I learned that Sunday breakfast after church at his home growing up was a big deal. (Although, I would imagine any meal that involved feeding 10 kids was kind of a big deal.) Sunday morning involved lots of delicious food home-cooked by his mom, and his FAVORITE of those meals was biscuits and gravy. I knew the very first time I had a meal at his mother's table I would never be the cook that she is, 'cuz she's pretty awesome, but as his new bride I was still determined to give him his favorite meal despite my lack of experience. I had no idea how to go about it, but then one day while cruising down the aisles of east side Marsh I saw Bob Evans already-made-gravy in the frozen section! I flipped over the box excitedly. Just defrost and add biscuits! SCORE! I hurried home to cook them up and surprise my sweetheart.
Now, I probably don't have to tell you that it was nothing like his Mom's. Paul would never complain, but I could tell I wasn't going to get off that easy. . .it was time to roll my sleeves up and figure it out for myself. Here's the thing with Biscuits and Gravy. The ingredients are really simple. You just have to play around with it to get it right. . .stirring, adjusting the temperature, checking your biscuits so the bottoms don't burn, watching for the gravy to get to just the right thickness. It's not fail-proof, but the time spent perfecting the details is worth it. When my boys smell biscuits and gravy, they come-a-running. Paul smiles and thanks me profusely. Phil says, "YES! My FAVORITE! Biscuits and GRAVY!", (even though he won't actually touch the gravy, he still throws that word in there.) Daniel shovels it in his mouth at record speeds, and even baby Josh squeals "GRABYYYY!!!" Yep. I found the way to their hearts. It's the gravy way to say I love you.
So, here's the recipe, along with not-very-concise instructions on how to turn these ingredients into deliciousness.
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy Recipe
1 lb roll of sausage (I use regular or sometimes sage flavored sausage)
3 cups of milk (2% is ideal)
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cans of Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits
Shortening (depending on the fat content of your sausage)
Preheat your oven and cook the canned biscuits as directed. While the biscuits are cooking, prepare the gravy.
1. Get a big skillet and warm it over medium heat. You are going to start it on medium, but just turn it up or down as needed as you go along. The entire recipe might require anything from medium low to medium high depending on your range.
2. Brown and crumble your sausage over medium to medium high heat.
3. When the sausage is browned, don't drain it. I know that sounds fattening, but the fat makes for a better gravy. If there is a ton of grease, you might skim off a few spoonfuls, or if there is hardly any grease in the pan, add a little bit of shortening, maybe a tablespoon or two. Or, leave the grease in AND add shortening. Hey, nobody said this was health food! This is SUNDAY food!
4. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the flour and some salt and pepper, maybe 1/4 t of each to start and you can add more pepper later. Now you need to keep stirring the sausage until the flour turns from white to brown. Watch your skillet, if you think it is getting too hot, turn it down more. You don't want it to burn, just brown a little bit. All of the flour should be incorporated with the sausage and look nice and uniform.
5. Now slowly add your milk while stirring with your spatula. You can crank the heat up to medium high as long as you watch the skillet and continue to stir. It will take a few minutes, but watch for the milk to start to bubble. Add more pepper now if you think you are going to want a more "pepper-y" gravy.
6. Once your milk starts to bubble, allow it to bubble for at least a minute while stirring. You can turn the heat down to medium or medium low while it is bubbling. You don't want the milk to burn, so temperature and stirring are key here. Too high- it burns. Too low- it won't thicken.
6. Watch for your gravy to thicken. Your gravy will thicken more once you allow it to sit out off the heat, but you want it to get to at least 80% of your desired thickness before you take it off the burner. This could take anywhere from about 1-4 minutes.
7. When your gravy reaches thickness, remove it from the heat.
8. Allow the gravy to set and cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a serving bowl. By now, your biscuits should be done and you are ready to serve!
9. Break the biscuits in half, place on a plate and spoon gravy over the open biscuits.