Here’s the first article in this week’s special Southern Comfort Food Series that celebrates the joys of American Southern Cuisine:
Let me begin by stating that this is not a casually thrown gauntlet. I know there are many who still believe that the English are the masters of breakfast. Now, that may have been true at one time, and I will concede that one may still find mind-bogglingly good tea there, but I must unequivocally state that the sun has set on the English breakfast hegemony. The U.S. has become the Breakfast Capitol of the World.
No, we don’t do grilled tomatoes or soggy beans or boiled kidneys or kippered herring for breakfast here. Rather, we do truly stellar things like home fries, spicy sausages with actual meat in them, crispy bacon, sweetly salty ham, creamy grits, fluffy biscuits, “western” omelets, hash browns “all the way”, thick French toast, peppery scrapple, dozens of different pancakes, … the list goes on and on, but I have to stop because I’m making myself hungry!
Here in the South, there’s a cholesterol-be-damned approach to breakfast which I find very endearing. Our local Huddle House serves something called the Southern Smothered Platter consisting of “biscuits, hash browns and sausage all topped with steaming hot sausage gravy and cheese.” It is an absolutely delicious, thoroughly satisfying mess of a dish that is worth the trip from anywhere on this planet.
If, however, you’re a reindeer herder in Lapland and can’t fit a trip to the South into your busy schedule just now, you can try this recipe for sausage gravy. It’s delicious over biscuits, toast, scrambled eggs, rice, grits - oh, heck just about anything. Add a side of reindeer bacon and you’ve got a complete breakfast!
1 lb high quality roll sausage (such as Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans)
3 Tbsp oil, if needed
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
Salt, pepper, & cayenne to taste
(Note: you can use the regular, hot, or sage flavored sausage, but the maple flavored might be too sweet.)
Fry the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces, until fully cooked. Add enough oil, if needed, to equal roughly 3 tablespoons (lean sausage will release very little oil.) Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the milk a bit at a time at first, stirring until incorporated, adding more as it thickens. When all the milk is incorporated, turn the heat down very low and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until thickened. If it becomes too thick, add a bit of water. Taste for salt and pepper, and add a pinch of cayenne, if desired.
Serve with biscuits, toast, scrambled eggs, rice, grits, etc.
You can elaborate on this basic recipe by adding a little garlic and/or onion powder, or a few dashes of hot pepper sauce for a bit more zing. I’ve also added ground nutmeg and sautéed onions to this gravy with good results.
Sausage Gravy Crack-A-Roni & Cheese
Warning: as the name implies, this stuff is like crack. It’s quick and easy to make, and totally addictive. Don’t - repeat - don’t make this if you’re alone in the house. You WILL eat all of it by yourself - or you’ll die trying! Make sure there are at least 3 other hungry people around. Trust me.
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 cups sausage gravy
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Additional hot milk, if needed
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain, return to pot, and stir in sausage gravy and onion powder. When thoroughly hot, mix in the cheese a handful at a time. If it’s too thick, add a little hot milk. Taste for salt and pepper.
Enjoy - carefully, and in moderation!
Please join us tomorrow to enjoy our new daily food and cooking article.
If you enjoyed today’s recipe, you might also enjoy these other interesting posts that feature pomegranates:
- Coconut Chipotle Mojo Shrimp With Pomegranate Relish
- Chicken Pomegranate Stuffed Shells With Gorgonzola Cream and Pine Nuts
- Cooking With Zest: Recipes That Make the Most of Fresh Lemon, Orange, and Lime Fruit Zest
- Chipotle Mojo Chicken Tacos With Marinated Mushrooms and Peppers Recipe
- Green Pea and Lemongrass Paradise Pasta With Pan-Seared Asparagus Recipe