Gravy

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Bushie
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2003/06/09 22:29:06 (permalink)

Gravy


About 95% of the gravy I've had at restaurants around the country has ranged from "swamp scum" to "just there".

I've always thought that gravy should not only be a compliment to a meal, it should kinda "stand on it's own". In other words, it should not only be something you want to dip your food into, it should be so tasty that you want to take a spoon and scoop up the last bits on your plate.

I have no doubt that there are many places around this country that make a good gravy. Besides my house, I know you can get good gravy at Massey's in Fort Worth (thanks Matchstick Man), and at Hill's Cafe in Austin, TX.

I'd love to hear of other awesome gravys, white or brown, around this great country of ours.


#1

41 Replies Related Threads

    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 01:07:32 (permalink)
    I've never had any extraodinary gravy in a restaurant, but my parents and grandparents had always made the best white gravy in existance..sometimes just regular, sometimes full of bacon and/or sausage. Somehow the gravy making gene had missed me completely, until last Saturday.. I finally came into my own culinary heritage. Boy was I happy!
    #2
    Bushie
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 08:28:21 (permalink)
    Congratulations, Jennifer! I know exactly what you mean. It took me years of gravy makin' before things finally clicked.
    #3
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 08:51:42 (permalink)
    I personally prefer sausage gravy.

    Finding the perfect gravy that matches your taste is sort of like looking for the Holy Grail. Very difficult to find.

    I have never been real good at making it although I try on occasions using what is left when I fry sausage or chicken or chicken fried steak.

    I generally do not like store bought gravies, but one exception to me is Libby's sausage gravy which I have purhcased several times at Walmart.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #4
    Bushie
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 08:55:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7


    ... Finding the perfect gravy that matches your taste is sort of like looking for the Holy Grail. Very difficult to find. ...

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    Ain't that the truth!
    #5
    ocdreamr
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 09:39:25 (permalink)
    I'm one of those cooks that likes to improvise, you know, if your cooking chicken, this time a little more sage maybe next time a little rosemary, next time put in some sherry. The problem is if I get a real blow your socks off gravy this time I may not be able to replicate it the next. I will write down what I did but because the amounts aren't exact it won't be quite the same. The gravy will be good but just not the same.
    #6
    Bushie
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 10:10:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ocdreamr

    I'm one of those cooks that likes to improvise, you know, if your cooking chicken, this time a little more sage maybe next time a little rosemary, next time put in some sherry. The problem is if I get a real blow your socks off gravy this time I may not be able to replicate it the next. I will write down what I did but because the amounts aren't exact it won't be quite the same. The gravy will be good but just not the same.


    That's one of the "casualties" of being such a good, creative cook!
    #7
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 11:20:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ocdreamr

    I'm one of those cooks that likes to improvise, you know, if your cooking chicken, this time a little more sage maybe next time a little rosemary, next time put in some sherry. The problem is if I get a real blow your socks off gravy this time I may not be able to replicate it the next. I will write down what I did but because the amounts aren't exact it won't be quite the same. The gravy will be good but just not the same.


    Everything I cook is that way~! And if someone likes something and says, "please make that stuff you make", you can't reproduce it exactly if you remember how you made it at all.
    #8
    ocdreamr
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 11:47:17 (permalink)
    Jannifer
    that's why I keep a spiral note book named "How I did that" in my kitchen. When something comes out well or someone particularly likes it, I write down what I did right after eating, that way, at least, I hopefully have a starting point to recreating the recipe. May not be exact but gets me in the ball park.
    #9
    Hode
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 12:18:12 (permalink)
    I know it is a chain but I do enjoy Bob Evans Sausage gravy to the point I order it for breakfast lunch or dinner.
    #10
    RubyRose
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/10 13:19:54 (permalink)
    In my area, the most consistently good gravy seems to be at church, grange, or other community roast beef or turkey suppers. Those ladies don't just open a couple of industrial size cans of gravy and heat them up.
    #11
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 13:03:21 (permalink)
    Roadfood.com is the best thing I've discovered on/about the internet in the year we've been connected. Not only is it so interesting, informative, educational, entertaining, but it also brings back so many wonderful, long forgotten memories.This topic of gravy is a prime example of that. While I like all gravies (other than those I make myself; making gravy & frying chicken are two cooking skills I never mastered), some of my favorites are roast chicken, fried chicken, fried round steak gravies; white sausage gravy with sausage bits; and occasionally red-eye gravy. My all time favorite gravy, tho, is a roast gravy my mother used to make.

    She would put a little water in the bottom of one of those heavy, hammered aluminum roasters (don't know if they are still made) and place a chuck or similar type roast on a rack in it. She'd mix up a concoction of vinegar, mustard (dry or just plain yellow prepared), salt, and rather heavy dose of black pepper and pour over the roast, placing it on the back burner of the stove, bringing it up to steam, and then cutting back on the heat to let it cook slowly. The vinegar-mustard mixture would infuse and flavor the roast as it cooked. When the roast was nearly done she would sift some flour onto a cookie sheet and brown that flour in the oven. When done, she would remove the roast, stir that browned flour into the pan juices and stir and cook that until it reached the gravy consistency she desired. She'd then serve the roast and gravy and I thought I'd gone to heaven. The roast was great, but I liked the gravy even better. The others in the family could have the roast as long as I could have some of that gravy on mashed potatoes or rolls or bread. It was the mustard-vinegar flavor combined with the beef flavor which made it so good. Was absolutely my all time favorite gravy. It is one gravy which meets Bushie's initial topic posting definition of what a gravy whould be. I remember her way of preparing this roast and gravy was some variation on the original recipe, but the original could not have been better. The one thing I can not remember with certainty is whether or not she browned the roast a little, at either the beginning or end of the cooking process, but I think she did brown it a bit at the beginning.

    I had her recipe for years. We tried it at times and it always came out "ok", but never as good as hers. Unfortunatley during the last move her recipe was misplaced, or I fear, lost. In reading about gravy favorites, thought I'd just mention my all time favorite and thought anyone who is talented at tackling "partial, general" recipes and particularly who likes a vinegar-mustard flavor might like to try this one.

    #12
    Bushie
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 14:31:24 (permalink)
    Wow, Liketoeat, what a story! I'll definitely make my next roast and gravy using your mother's technique. I guarantee you it won't come out as good as hers, but it sounds wonderful. (This is really the wrong time of year down here to be cooking roasts in the oven, but I may have to make an exception for this one! ) Thanks!
    #13
    RubyRose
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 14:36:18 (permalink)
    Liketoeat, my mouth is watering reading the description of your mother's roast and gravy. My grandmother and mom used to keep a glass jar of previously browned flour on the counter for thickening all kinds of gravies and sauces so I'm familiar with a part of that wonderful flavor.
    #14
    mayor al
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 15:36:55 (permalink)
    Mom's and Especially GrandMom's are endowed with special God-given DNA that makes them capable (and willing) to spend hours in a kitchen doing things that only Executive Chef's dream about.
    I know that times change, and the "modern mom" has a much more complex schedule than my (our) GrandMom's did...but I acknowledge with the deepest respect the memories I have of watching my grandmothers daily routine of Breakfast- house chores- Lunch- Then the afternoon was spent preparing the evening meal. A typical day would have at least 6 hours of food-prep in it. How many of us (either gender) do that on a daily basis..outside of those compensated for it at work? It is no wonder that their gravy---roasts---pies--soups--dumplings--etc all turned out as they did.
    You don't gain that kind of experience trying to juggle a career, family raising and Household chores in the same time span.
    This was not meant to be a put-down of the working mother...instead, you folks have brought to the front of my recall some wonderful memories of a day that doesn't exiest anymore...and that is my lose.
    #15
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 16:08:16 (permalink)
    My grandmother makes great gravy, my mother makes crappy gravy; what's the difference? (aside from grandparents and grandchildren being united around a common enemy?) Fat.

    My grandmother makes roux, and my mother, hopelessly modern, uses starch slurries. Feh. You cannot make gravy without roux. Slurries and adding flour after the liquid component is added invariably mean a raw, starchy taste. Ptuii. Mom's not the first one to be wrong; Escoffier predicted that we'd all move to pure starches, too.

    My gravy formula, invariably, uses a butter-and-rendered-fat roux, degreased drippings, stock, a little hooch of some sort, and seasonings. Finally, in a shameless attempt at gilding the lily, I enjoy "mounting" a gravy with a few hunks of cold buttter whisked in at the end, in the manner of ost french pan sauces. *drool*


    Some of the best gravy I've ever had out-of-home was at Butte View Elementary School in Emmett, ID. Those lunch ladies (enormous girls, they, all rolls and folds) made *superb* hamburger and turkey gravy out of USDA commodities. It's a damn shame they served it on top of instant potatoes...and this, in the heart of potato country. For shame, ladies. Your gravy nearly redeems you, however.

    #16
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 16:15:09 (permalink)
    This gravy topic also brings to mind a dish I loved in our highschool cafeteria... "Hamburger Gravy".. nothing more than browned ground beef in brown gravy, ladled over mashed potatoes...ahhhhh.. I've made it for my family several times, but using a satisfactory brown gravy mix... true comfort food.
    #17
    Bushie
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 16:29:02 (permalink)
    VibrationGuy, you obviously have had some culinary training. Please let me ask a couple of questions.

    1) I don't bother separating the grease from the drippings anymore, and I haven't experienced negative results. What is the benefit of doing that in terms of the finished gravy?

    2) I'm not familiar with the "mounting" technique (biting my lip here, trying not to think of the obvious mental picture...) What does that do?

    I appreciate any info you can share.
    #18
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 16:58:49 (permalink)
    Bushie and Ruby Rose - Thanks for your comments and hope your goes at this roast turn out decent. My mother just automatically made up that vinegar, mustard, etc. mixture but the recipe did have quantities specified. When we've tried it, particularly after misplacing her recipe, we've just had to kinda do that part by taste (being careful not to overpower everything with vinegar); also being careful not to overly brown the flour. Wish I could provide more details and will be anxious to know how your efforts come out. As said, ours have been "ok", but certainly not hers. Don't know if either of you know what Garrett (dipping) snuff is or if you are familiar with the old Garrett Snuff pocket memos; a little booklet shaped like a jar of Garrett Snuff which farmers carried in their pockets to jot down memos. It also contained a few bits of "Farmer's Almanac" type info, including a few recipes and household hints for the ladies. For a few years one of the recipes included in it was this vinegar-mustard roast-gravy recipe. You may not want to try it after learning the recipe's original source. I've never tried and can't stand dipping snuff, but trust me, this Snuff Memo recipe was great.

    And Mayor, surely enjoyed your comments re moms and grandmothers, both sources of some of my most wonderful memories. Your description of your grandmother's days reminds me so much of what I remember of my grandmother's days being. However, my mother was in a little different position in that in addition to being small farmers we also had an old country general merchandise store to which my mother devoted a lot of hours of work. In the rush seasons of spring and particularly fall (back then times of manual labor cotton chopping and cotton picking), she would have to let some of her housekeeping chores and even her cooking go due to the long hours that store demanded; but she surely made up for those times in winter and summer and whenever else she could. I spent my career in industry, and I surely admire the current day working moms; how they do what they do, I'll never know (fear I could never have done it), but I'd not previously stopped to think that a future loss of this type of life we all now have is going to be current younger and future adults not having the wonderful memories of their mothers and grandmothers which we enjoy. Take care all. Like to eat.
    #19
    Bushie
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 17:20:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Liketoeat

    ...You may not want to try it after learning the recipe's original source. I've never tried and can't stand dipping snuff, but trust me, this Snuff Memo recipe was great...



    Just as long as I don't have to put Garrett Snuff in the gravy itself, I'm cool with it.
    #20
    RubyRose
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 20:52:53 (permalink)
    Me too. If you'd like to post your closest approximation of the recipe, I'll try it.
    #21
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 21:15:06 (permalink)
    I am not an expert on gravy and probably never will be. Simple sausage and fried chicken gravy works with me.

    My mother who lives next door makes a great country fried steak gravy. She does her country fried steak quite different than most as she uses a real steak, browns it and then slow cooks it with onions and other spices in the oven for several hours at around 200 degrees. The gravy is made from what is left and it is thick, oniony and brown. Great over her yeast rolls whick she has with every meal.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #22
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/11 22:54:08 (permalink)
    Sundancer, that country fried steak and its gravy your mother makes surely sounds wonderful. I've never had country fried steak or its gravy prepared in that manner. Would love to, though. And Ruby Rose, the closest approximation of the vinegar-mustard roast & gravy recipe I can come up with is contained in my above 6/11, 13:03 and 16:58 postings. Liketoeat
    #23
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/12 04:32:10 (permalink)
    I love the soulful sausage gravy that comes with biscuits, like this stuff, in the background, behind biscuits at the Florida Avenue Grill in DC:

    #24
    Lone Star
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/12 10:02:55 (permalink)
    I feel lucky I suppose, that my grandmothers, my mother, and my father, all taught me various ways to make different gravies. My husband tells me I can make a gravy out of anything, but it is not something I know how to tell, or write down.

    Like tortillas, tamales and scratch biscuits, it is just something you "know" how to do. My husband will many times start dinner, and leave the gravy making to me.

    For someone wanting to learn how, I suppose mastering a basic white sauce recipie would be a good start as it is made from a roux of flour and butter. It would help the cook learn the fat/flour/liquid/timing ratio.

    My husband tells me it is a dying art form.
    #25
    ocdreamr
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/12 10:38:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lone Star
    For someone wanting to learn how, I suppose mastering a basic white sauce recipie would be a good start as it is made from a roux of flour and butter. It would help the cook learn the fat/flour/liquid/timing ratio.

    My husband tells me it is a dying art form.


    Lone Star

    I know what you mean, I work in a large office (think Federal Government) and if the gals here start talking about cooking you can bet if they are under the age of 35 that when the subject turns to gravy they start to name their favorite jarred or packaged gravy mix.
    If you even ask them about gravy from scratch they look at you like you are from Mars. The thing is most of their mothers don't make it from scratch either, so they don't even know what it is.
    #26
    kland01s
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/12 12:18:20 (permalink)
    Sadly, cooking is a dying art, at least true from scratch cooking. The problem is time, just last night I "whipped up" crayfish etouffe and understand why I make it so seldom(as in once every 3 years), its a LOT of work!I was given a pound of crayfish, other wise I would never have done it. I think I did a pretty good job of the roux, real butter, cast iron skillet and slow cooking but oh, my, is that work!
    #27
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/12 16:39:00 (permalink)
    I have only heard of this concoction, but has anyone here made or eaten "chocolate gravy" ?? I hear many people like it with biscuits.
    #28
    Bushie
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/12 17:42:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jennifer_4

    I have only heard of this concoction, but has anyone here made or eaten "chocolate gravy" ?? I hear many people like it with biscuits.


    Interesting question, Jennifer. When I was growing up, my dad hated chocolate. The reason he gave was that when he was a boy, at their Sunday dinners they would serve plates of food with "chocolate gravy" poured over everything. He hated it, but of course back then kids didn't get to pick and choose like today, so he had to eat it.

    He made it sound awful, and I've never tried it, but I haven't thought of that in I don't know how many years.
    #29
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Gravy 2003/06/12 17:52:17 (permalink)
    I have had a chocolate sauce over a chimichanga which I suppose was similar. I did not think it was all that good.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #30
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