I was having a conversation with some Brits recently and they dropped a real bomb on me. Apparently, in the UK there’s only kind of gravy.
As an American and a Southerner, this was just heartbreaking. It’s like finding out there’s a nation where everybody listens to one band or plays the same sport. Now I’m not about to say that’s wrong or anything, I’m respectful of cultural differences and all, but I mean, damn, son!
So look, take it or leave it, I’m not trying to foist my nation’s cuisine onto anybody, but in case anyone out there hails from a gravy-deprived culture and wishes to expand their culinary horizons vis-à-vis meat juice based sauces, I invite you to read on….
What is gravy, anyway?
For our purposes here, a gravy is any sauce made from the juices left over from cooking meat, by adding thickeners and extenders — such as butter, flour, wine, milk, even coffee — and possibly flavorings like herbs, spices, or crumbled bacon or sausage. So-called “vegetarian gravies” are actually gravy substitutes just as “vegetarian hamburger” is a substitute for ground beef.
In the recipes I’m going to share with you, “flour” means all-purpose flour, and “bacon fat” refers to re-solidified fat left over from cooking bacon. If you don’t have bacon fat in your kitchen, you can use lard or a combination of butter and toasted sesame oil which will give you a similar texture and flavor. “Biscuits,” of course, are American-style biscuits, not what Brits call biscuits which we call “cookies.”
So let’s start with the fundamentals and get a bit fancier as we go….