Gravy. Mmmmmm….one of the centerpieces of my cooking repertoire. Good “white” gravy is a thing of beauty, but most gravy is a sad reminder that most people and restaurants would rather just use a mix.
Since I pretty much always have the stuff you need for gravy in the house, it’s a go-to when I am going to be a lazy cook. Fry up some bacon? Make gravy. Fried chicken? Make gravy. Have extra bread? Make gravy.
And, if I might crow for a moment: I make DANG GOOD GRAVY!! So what’s the secret? Rue.
No, not the character in The Hunger Games. Rue is a really basic cooking trick that can serve as a base for lots of good stuff (like homemade mac & cheese). Here’s what you need:
- Two to three tablespoons of grease from your bacon/breakfast sausage or oil from your fried chicken (or you can just use olive oil or vegetable oil if you aren’t cooking something else
- Flour (get out the whole bag–you’ll see why shortly)
- Milk (keep the carton at the ready)
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Be sure the grease or oil in your skillet is hot. Turn the burner down very low.
2. Sprinkle flour into the hot grease or oil, stirring and adding more until the grease is ALL soaked up. It should become a pretty thick, gritty paste. Cook it over the low heat, stirring constantly until it’s a light tan. This is your rue.
3. Slowly add milk until there is about half an inch in the skillet. It’s important to add it slowly, as the cold milk will congeal with the rue, making it harder to stir the lumps out. As you add the milk, stir constantly with a spatula, so you can flatten out lumps as you find them.
4. Once the milk and rue have blended, add your salt and pepper and turn the heat up just a little. Stir occasionally, checking to see how thick your gravy is.
5. If it starts to bubble and seems to be getting thick, you can add a little more milk. Allow to thicken again. Keep adding milk and allowing the gravy to thicken until it is EXACTLY the consistency that you want.
6. Aout 2-3 minutes before you serve it, turn the heat really low again and, if you’ve cooked bacon or sausage you can add some to the gravy (in little pieces, of course). Put the lid on and let it simmer all the flavors together.