Sausage Gravy (In a Cast Iron Skillet)
That trip made Sausage Gravy a regular at our Sunday breakfast table. After making it for months, I’ve found it just works better in cast iron. I don’t know why. Heavy duty steel or anodized aluminum pans do the job, but the recipe didn’t come together for me until I cooked it in cast iron. Maybe it’s tradition, maybe it’s the heavy metal, but I’m convinced I need a cast iron pan to do sausage gravy right.
Sausage gravy is barely a recipe – cook a pound of breakfast sausage, then toast flour in the fat and drippings left in the pan. Whisk in milk, and keep whisking until the lumps smooth out and the milk reduces in to a thick gravy. Add salt and (lots of) pepper to taste, and serve on top of biscuits. You can find this basic recipe – with a ratio of 1 pound of sausage, 1/4 cup of flour, and 2 cups milk – everywhere on the internet. My big change? I double up on the gravy, because my family can’t get enough. I add a little extra vegetable oil to the drippings in the pan to make sure there’s enough fat, then use 1/2 cup of flour and 4 cups of milk. 3
Recipe: Sausage Gravy (In a Cast Iron Skillet)
Sausage Gravy (In a Cast Iron Skillet)
- 1 pound of breakfast sausage, formed into patties
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 cups milk
- A lot of fresh ground black pepper
1. Cook the sausage
Heat the cast iron skillet over medium heat for five minutes, then add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is well browned on the bottom, about five minutes. Flip the sausage and brown the other side and cook the sausage through, about five more minutes. Remove the sausage to a paper towel lined plate, leaving as much fat and drippings behind as possible.
2. Toast the flour
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. Let the oil warm up for 1 minute, then sprinkle in the flour. Whisk the flour into the oil, then cook the flour, whisking often, until the flour turns from white to a light blonde color, about 3 minutes.
3. Simmer the gravy
Slowly whisk the milk into the pan. Simmer the milk, whisking constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan with the whisk to keep the milk from sticking. The gravy is ready when it thickens enough to see the bottom of the pan through the bubbles, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper – a lot of pepper – until the gravy tastes good. It will take more salt and pepper than it seems like it should. I whisk in salt in half teaspoon increments until the gravy stops tasting flat, then add ground pepper until the gravy tastes spicy, with a hint of heat. Serve.
- Don’t panic when you first add the milk, and the gravy looks lumpy:
- Keep simmering and whisking, and the lumps will smooth out:
- How do you turn a roll of sausage into evenly shaped patties? I leave the sausage in the plastic casing. I use my bread knife to cut through the plastic, starting with the rounded end, and then cut 3/4 inch slices until I get to the other end. Then I peel the rounded ends out of the edge of the plastic and mash them together to form a final patty. If that patty is really a mess, I cook it, then crumble it up and whisk it into the gravy.
- Don’t want to make biscuits? I feel your pain. My wife’s the baker in the family, and she’s our chief biscuit maker. If I’m home alone with the kids, I cheat and use english muffins. Shh – don’t tell anyone. I’m sure the Southern Cooking Police have a SWAT team on call to take care of northerners like me.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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I live in Bob Evans’ home state, after all. It’s impossible to avoid.↩
Before then, the kids refused to try sausage gravy. What’s this white glop you’re pushing? Eat it? You’re kidding, right? Being on the road in Portland made them more adventurous than usual, so they tried it. Now they can’t get enough sausage gravy.↩
Yup, that’s it, my big addition to sausage gravy – making more of it.↩