Monday, May 18, 2009

The Truth About Homemade Gravy

I enjoy cooking. While my own palate is not varied, (I’m a meat, potatoes and M&M’s kind of girl) I do enjoy preparing a variety of foods for my family. Whenever possible, and time permitting, I like to make things “from scratch” as opposed to opening up a mix of some sort. Stop laughing -- it’s true!

Recently, my husband and I endeavored to prepare our own “from scratch” biscuits and gravy. Some of you may think this is the easiest and most natural thing in the world; however, homemade gravy has always intimidated me. I’ve never been able to get it right and always ended up with a blob of something that even the hungriest of dogs wouldn’t ingest. One morning, while preparing our homemade biscuits (a recipe we have now perfected), my husband suggested that we make our own gravy. WHAT??...Homemade gravy??...No way!! I immediately broke out in a sweat. I admitted to him that I had never been successful in preparing an edible gravy mixture. He insisted it couldn’t be that difficult and there had to be a good recipe on the internet. After a few minutes of searching, we found a simple recipe to try. I held my breath throughout the entire process. Would it be lumpy? Would it be smooth? Would it be the right color? Would it be toxic to those who ate it (I don’t eat gravy)? Would the boys hide for fear that we would force them to eat a globbed and burnt mixture? And most importantly, how would it taste? Finally, the moment of truth came. It was a success! The recipe turned out to be fool/Benita-proof. Since that morning, we have turned out many a boat of gravy with no flops!

For those who might be interested, here are the recipes for Roberts Homemade Biscuits and Gravy:

Homemade Biscuits:

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons shortening
1 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut in shortening; then add milk, stir. Roll dough out onto a floured surface, until approximately ½ to 1 inch thick (depends on your preference). If dough is sticky, add a small amount of flour. Cut with biscuit cutter (or any desired shape). Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes. This time is approximate depending on your oven.

Notes: We use a baking stone instead of a cookie sheet. We also found that brushing a little bit of olive oil on the top of each biscuit during the last 5 minutes of baking improves the browning process.

Homemade Gravy:

¼ cup bacon grease
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste

Add flour to hot grease. Stir very well to eliminate lumps. Cook on low heat until mixture turns “golden” in color. Continue to stir frequently. Slowly, very slowly, add milk, stirring constantly. If you add the milk quickly, it will scorch. Cook on low boil until thickened. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. It doesn’t take but a few minutes, but it is best NOT to turn your back on the gravy or leave it unattended. It is an attention hog and likes to be stirred for best results.


If you have a good "from scratch" recipe, let me know.

I'm just sayin',

--Margo

7 comments:

Edward G. Roberts said...

As the great Kinky Friedman said, "Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed!"

Joseph said...

While I must admit that this comment will lack the trascendence of Kinky Friedman I will nontheless try.

Homemade Biscuits (Sarah Kinnaird, Granny)

Put selfrising flour in mixing bowl.

Scoop out (by hand) 1/2 handful of shortening.

Add small amount buttermilk and stir adding buttermilk until you have a glob of dough that you can almost pick up by hand.

Coat hands with flour and remove glob to separate mixing bowl with small about of flour in bottom.

Work by hand just until dough will not stick to your hands.

Pull off dough and roll in hand until nice and round and not sticky (constantly adding flour to hands). Flattened biscuit should be size of palm and at least 1 1/2" thick.

Add to pregreased pan.

Brush real salted butter onto biscuit tops. Bake at 400 degrees until tops are golden brown.

Serve with real salted butter and honey and prepare to eat yourself into a card/butter/honey coma.

Unbutton top button of pants if needed.

Jamie said...

I don't think there's anything I make from scratch - I love Sandra Lee semi-homemade. However, this spinach dip I make gets the most requests:

10oz. frozen spinach (thawed)
2 cups sharp shredded cheese
8oz. cream cheese
1 can of rotel diced tomatoes and chilis

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients in 1-2qt. casserole dish and cook for 20 minutes. Serve with pita or tortilla chips. (I do make my own pita chips from scratch :))

Yummo.

Margo Redding said...

Joseph, thank you for the recipe. I would love to try it; however, I am one of those OCD people who has to measure ingredients precisely in order to cook. How much self-rising flour would I use for this recipe and can I wear gloves to "scoop the shortening out with my hand"? Is 1/2 handful closer to 1/2 or 1/4 cup? I've also never understood the exact measurement of a "pinch" or "dash" of something. AND, a true lady never eats enough to have to unbutton the top button on her pants. I believe this particular habit is specifically for the male species.

Seriously, thanks so much! You know I'm giving you a hard time! :-)

Margo Redding said...

Jamie, I LOVE Sandra Lee's recipes. I will definitely try the Spinach Dip. Of course, I won't eat it but my family will love it!

Send the recipe for the pita chips!

Thanks so much!

Chris Barnette said...

WOW..I love B&G and the gravy recipe looks about the same as Mother uses. Except she doesn’t measure, she just mixes it in until it has the right consistency. If it's too thin she will mix some corn starch and water to thicken it up. Now I love the gravy that some in the packets. It has to say Biscuit gravy on it. As far as the biscuits go, we used to make drop biscuits from bisquick and here lately have been getting the frozen biscuits from Pillsbury. As for as B&G on the go, Jacks has my vote as favorite! Good post. Hey new ideal lets have a Gravy/Biscuit cook off after Service one morning. What ya’ll think?

Edward G. Roberts said...

Joseph,

Little Miss Anality can't handle the country measurements of your Granny's recipe, but me, I grew up learnin' to cook from my grandmother and Justin Wilson... and I don't remember a measurin' device in either's kitchen. The girls are having a Pampered Chef Pink Party soon. You come over and teach me how to cook those biscuits while they're trying to decide which graduated cylinder they want to buy for the kitchen.