Sausage gravy and I go way back.
I learned how to make it in high school from my first boyfriend’s mother. It was a revelation. My early years in Illinois had not informed me about bulk sausage to begin with. On the North Shore links were the only sausage available. And gravy was served once a year — for Thanksgiving — and it was brown.
Gravy, of course, is a misnomer. What the white gravy that enrobes the sausage nuggets really is is a bechamel sauce, a mother sauce of French cuisine. But somehow after it crossed the pond and headed South it just became white sauce or cream gravy.
Our bulk sausage of choice, naturally, is Tennessee Pride. It’s one of a slew of bulk sausage producers in what has been dubbed “the sausage belt.” I can’t prove this but I believe there are more bulk sausage companies in Tennessee than anywhere else in the country. It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to be a Tennessee Vol.
Consequently, nothing made me happier than when my friend Eva Carter arrived at CRC World Headquarters this week with 2-pound chubs of homemade sausage from her ranch in Bedford County — 8 pounds in all. Oh, dear. What would I do with all that sausage? That is a rhetorical question.
King Daddy was so happy. He has childhood memories of cream gravy over biscuits but his family was too poor to buy the sausage made just miles from his house. Consequently, there’s not enough sausage in the world when it comes to cream gravy.
So the classic ratio for cream gravy is 2-2-2: 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tablespoons flour mixed together to cook the raw taste out of the flour and 2 cups of whole milk. Plus salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg to season.
But I do mine a different way. I start out with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter and flour but I don’t measure the milk. I just keep whisking the sauce as I add more milk until it’s the consistency I want.
Pro tip: If you let the gravy sit for a while it will become gummy. Just add more milk to loosen it up.