Sausage Gravy: a Home-Ec 101 Basic Recipe

My kids call biscuits and gravy their favorite struggle meal. For me, it’s my favorite I-don’t-have-enough-energy-to-deal-with-anything-meal. All of my teenagers now know how to make the gravy themselves, and I keep a few cans of biscuit dough in the fridge for the nights of no energy or time. One might think during the Great COVID Pandemic of 2020, that Home-Ec101 would be harping on making everything from scratch since we have all this time on our hands. Well, guess what, here I’m all about keeping your sanity intact and if that means reaching for a can of biscuit dough instead of making biscuits from scratch, do it. (We didn’t get the extra time version of the pandemic, we got the holy crap, how are we ever going to manage all of this version.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love homemade biscuits. I just didn’t have the bandwidth for them last night.

Sausage gravy is a great first recipe. If you mess it up, any lumps can be disguised in the biscuits. It’s very forgiving.

Please let me know what questions you have. I tried to add excessive detail to the instructions, but it’s possible that there’s something I find intuitive that you do not. I am happy to add more explanation.

Sausage Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground pork sausage, thawed (Do not use maple flavored and I suggest avoiding the sage version, too, but that might just be my preference)
  • optional 1 TBSP butter or bacon grease
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk + a little extra to thin to your preference
  • Black pepper – fresh ground is preferable

Tools required:

  • straight sided skillet, you can use a traditional frying pan, but you’ll make less of a mess
  • wooden spoon, but preferably a wooden spatula with a flat edge
  • measuring cup (dry)
  • measuring cup (liquid)

Method

  1. Over medium heat begin browning the sausage. As it browns use your spoon/ spatula to break the meat into small chunks. The size of the chunks will depend on your preference. In our house, we prefer smaller chunks and I prefer very small bits. I take my time and continuously break them down as they cook.
  2. Let the sausage cook completely and do NOT drain off the grease. Allow some browning to occur, this will increase the flavor. If you choose, you can add the additional tablespoon of butter or bacon grease at this step. I don’t ever seem to need it.
  3. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of flour evenly and thinly over the fully cooked sausage. The more evenly you spread your flour, the lower your chance of creating lumps. Stir to coat all of the sausage with the flour and allow it to cook just a little longer, using your spoon / spatula to continuously scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent it from scorching. This step gets rid of the raw flour taste.
  4. Turn the heat to low.
  5. Slowly, approximately 1/4 – 1/2 cup at a time, add the milk to your meat and flour mixture. Stir between additions to incorporate the milk fully before your next addition. Scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent it from sticking and scorching.
    WARNING – it is going to look ugly. It is going to look weird! It is going to look like you messed up. It is going to look a right mess. KEEP GOING. You are just fine. (I have included step by step pictures below, so you can see that yes, it is supposed to look weird and clumpy. stir right through that)
    Just keep stirring, just keep stirring!
  6. Allow to come to a simmer, this means there are bubbles forming, but not breaking the surface. You may need to adjust your heat a little, do NOT let it come to a boil
  7. Add more milk if you want a thinner gravy.
  8. Pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Sausage Gravy

Other great ideas for cooking beginners:

Whether you're looking to teach your child the very basics of cooking or you barely know your way around a kitchen and are looking to change that, learning how to make a grilled cheese sandwich is an excellent first step.
Taco Skillet
Taco Soup, easy enough for weeknight cooking. It makes a large batch, perfect for freezing for a busy night down the road.
Simple sweet cornbread

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