We all need some comfort food these days. I know, we’re supposed to make resolutions and behave ourselves in the new year, but c’mon. If there was ever a time for comforting, fatty, food to take our minds off . . . well, pick your poison . . . this is IT!
And Appalachia is there for you in these trying times. Because mountain folk know all about GRAVY! And man, some good gravy will fix all kinds of situations. So, if you need some comfort today, here’s your gravy primer.
- Poor Man’s Gravy – The quintessential mountain gravy. This is where you simply use the fat in the pan from whatever you just cooked (bacon, fried chicken, squirrel, etc.), add some flour to make a roux, then stir in water along with salt and pepper to taste. A classic over mashed potatoes.
- Red Eye Gravy – Talk about stretching what you have. In it’s most basic form it’s just frying up some ham then deglazing the skillet with cold coffee. Done.
- Sausage Gravy – Oooooh. My favorite. Fry your sausage, make a roux with the pan drippings, then add milk along with salt and pepper to taste. It’s really not sausage gravy unless you serve it over a homemade biscuit. Dad used to make a version of this using venison instead of sausage (you have to add butter to have enough fat). Sigh.
Now we come to the lesser known gravies.
- Chocolate Gravy – Yes, you heard me right. Talk about comfort! It’s basically a thin chocolate sauce made with butter, sugar, cocoa, flour, milk, and some vanilla. And yes, you absolutely should serve it over biscuits. Dad would make it along with a yellow sheet cake which he would split in half, top with vanilla ice cream, and drench in gravy. Probably not a breakfast food, but these days, who cares!
- Tomato Gravy – Make your roux with fat and flour (butter, bacon grease, lard–you choose) then add tomatoes you canned from last summer’s garden along with enough water or chicken stock to get the right consistency. Mom tried to trick us into eating this by saying it was “grown-up food.” I said the grown-ups could have it, but I’ve since changed my tune.
So what’s your favorite gravy and what do you eat it on?