Why It Works
- Browning the sausage renders flavorful drippings, which are then used to whip up a béchamel.
- Removing the sausage before starting on the gravy makes whisking the roux together much easier and ensures the sausage does not get overcooked.
- Optional fresh sage and crushed red pepper can compensate for under-seasoned breakfast sausage.
While debate rages in my family on Thanksgiving biscuits—my Dad and stepmother fiercely defend my garlic and cheddar drop biscuits, while my Mom sides with the buttermilk biscuits—there's no doubt these buttery towers of awesomeness will be on our holiday dinner table. There's also little doubt I'll make twice as many as needed, so I can stuff my face the following mornings (days, and nights) with even more biscuits. Usually these are just popped in the toaster and then spread with honey butter, but I was thinking that while I'm displaying a total disregard for health and weight, why not go the extra mile and pile on sausage gravy?
Sausage gravy is so easy that it's hard to fathom how many bad ones I've had to endure over the years. If you have breakfast sausage, flour, milk, and a watchful eye, this gravy should be successful every time.
It's a standard béchamel—milk thickened with roux—but with butter subbed out by the drippings left from cooked breakfast sausage that's added back into the gravy at the end. If I'm not using my homemade spicy herbed breakfast sausage, I like to add a little extra sage and crushed red pepper into the gravy to enhance the flavor.
This thick, hearty, and meaty gravy is perfectly fit to satisfy a stomach enlarged by a Thanksgiving feast, and provides the next step in the expedited changeover to a holiday-season diet whose sole purpose seems to be the quick addition of natural "insulation" to protect against the impending cold (or at least that's how I like to justify my expanding waistline).
3/4 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage
1 to 2 tablespoons butter, as needed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage (optional)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Place sausage in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook sausage, breaking apart with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate, leaving drippings in pan. If less than 3 tablespoons of drippings remain, melt enough butter in pan to equal about 3 tablespoons.
Whisk flour into sausage drippings and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in sausage, sage (if using), and crushed red pepper (if using). Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 11g||14%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||21%|
|Total Carbohydrate 4g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|