Cooking is often a joint effort. Contributors to this past weekend’s venture included my mom (in absentia), best friend Katie, and me. The challenge: sausage gravy.
Gravy is one of those mysterious foods that, until you know all the tricks, is hit or miss. It has always baffled me that the simple ingredients in sausage gravy (milk, flour, sausage, salt, pepper) combine to form a consistency so different from their natural—if you will—state.
Katie's method is to brown the sausage, remove it with a slotted spoon from pan. Add a bit of butter and 1/4 cup flour. Brown the flour a bit. Then add about 2 cups of milk + sausage. Stir and cook until thickened. I wanted to try (a bit of my mom's influence in this method) keeping the meat in the pan, adding the flour directly to it to brown, and lastly, adding the milk a little at a time.
"A little more?" I asked Katie, as we both leaned over the pan to judge.
"A little more," she said. I added enough milk to make it look like sausage was not the main ingredient.
"It'll thicken," she reassured me. "We just have to wait."
In a few telling minutes our gravy thickened. We sat at the table and ladled full, steaming mounds of it over biscuits. It felt good to know that after 13 years of being friends, we still have things to share—a comfort reaffirmed through the common experience of making and enjoying food.