The term “gravy” is practically synonymous with Thanksgiving. So why are we talking about it in July? The history of gravy goes back to the Middle Ages, and for Americans, it’s a staple. While your first image of gravy may be a dish served beside a perfectly roasted turkey, it’s a creation that is diverse with seemingly endless possibilities. The way you enjoy your gravy is timeless and can be relevant for any season.
America’s love for gravy is actually rooted in ingenuity. During times of scarcity, the concept of using drippings and juices resulted in thick, delectable additions to otherwise bland meals. Basically – many of our favorite ways of eating gravy come from creative ancestors who were using the most of what they had.
Let’s review some favorites:
Redeye Gravy. A Southern staple, this gravy is made from the drippings of ham. The pan is deglazed with black coffee. Chicken broth and a bit of sugar are added. As it simmers and thickens, butter is added, and the gravy is whisked. Serve with ham.
Brown Gravy. Made from the dripping of roasted beef or poultry, the drippings are cooked over high heats with onions and then thickened with a mix of water and flour (or cornstarch). This is the gravy most often used on mashed potatoes or served with the Thanksgiving turkey.
Sawmill Gravy. Made with sausage (or earlier recipes used bacon), flour, whole milk, salt, and pepper – sawmill gravy is the ultimate in traditional Southern breakfasts, which we eat all year long. So if you’re still thinking of gravy for Thanksgiving, ask yourself how you’d feel if biscuits and gravy were seasonal. It also goes by the name “Sausage Gravy.”
Milk Gravy. Milk gravy is sawmill gravy without the meat, just use bacon drippings instead. Crazy easy to make and absolutely delicious.
Mushroom Gravy. Finally, a gravy that can be vegetarianized. Butter, mushrooms, flour, broth (beef or veggie), and thyme make this a wonderful option. It’s great on beef, chicken, or potatoes!
Onion Gravy. Made from thinly sliced onions, butter, flour, beef broth, and Worcestershire – this is a staple for the British Bangers and Mash (pork sausage and mashed potatoes). It’s a thin gravy with a powerful flavor punch.
Chocolate Gravy. Oh, yes, it’s a thing. And if you haven’t had it – your world is about to be changed. Cocoa, flour, sugar, milk, and butter – combined in a decadently sweet mix of gravy and poured over hot buttery biscuits. Dessert for breakfast? Yes, please. And we likely have an indulgent Appalachian grandmother to thank for this one.
Hungry yet? Still think gravy is just for the holidays? Think again… Gravy can be enjoyed on pot roast, hamburger steaks, chicken, pork chops, meatloaf, turkey, and of course, biscuits. While most gravy recipes are relatively simple, it’s recommended that you practice often – just to make sure.