Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Froggie's Cream Gravy Recipe

Norman (see below) didn't tell us how to make the bacon grease gravy (which we have always called "cream gravy"*, so I'll explain, based on what our mother, Ruby Mabel Hurt née Havard, a.k.a. "Grammaw Froggie" (pbuh**), taught us.

On Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 3:38 AM, my brother Norman wrote:
One of my favorite dishes was mother's (rip) white bacon gravy on toast.  And milk.  That's all.  Nothing fancy.  Just incredibly wonderful thick delicious mother's flour gravy made with bacon grease, with plenty of salt and pepper.  In fact, she would save bacon grease and use it to flavor just about everything, like green beans, etc.  We always had a old coffee can full of bacon grease.
The trick to good gravy and toast is to generously pour the gravy on thick.
One morning a friend from down the street (John Daniels) joined us for breakfast.  I didn't know how well off we were until I saw him apply the gravy like you'd put mayonnaise on bread.  He put the gravy on his toast with a butter knife.
I guess his family couldn't "afford" to be so generous with their gravy.  We were living high on the hog back in those days, and we dint even know it.
And now, Froggie's recipe...

  • 2 TBSP bacon drippings (grease and crunchy detritus from cooking bacon)
  • 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 pinches black pepper
  • 1.5 cups cold whole milk (use Half and Half if you want to feel really rich)
You start with a skillet in which you have just finished frying bacon.  You cannot properly enjoy cream gravy on toast without crunchy bacon to munch on with it.
  • Pour all but the prescribed amount of drippings into a container - you will need it for seasoning all kinds of things like green beans and corn bread.***  
  • Get the pan medium hot so that it barely starts smoking****
  • Add the flour and stir it into the make roux  
  • Stir and let it cook a bit till it starts to brown.
  • Pour in all the milk at once and whisk vigorously to break up the roux and homogenize it into the milk.*****
  • Toss in the salt and pepper.
  • Use the whisk to deglaze the pan, incorporating all bacon detritus with salt and pepper into the thin gravy.
  • Whisk constantly while letting the thin gravy thicken and come to a boil. 
  • Whisk and boil for another minute.
  • Test the taste and adjust the seasoning - I like to add a little paprika or ground, smoked chipotle.
  • Pour immediately into gravy bowl and carry to the table.
  • Serve steaming hot - pour on buttered toast, grits, or potatoes and eat with gusto.
  • * Cream Gravy turns out to constitute the most popular form of gravy in the world, made with water or milk.  The French call it "roux."  French and American chefs often flavor the roux with herbs and spices in addition to salt and pepper.  The roux with cheese and and cooked macaroni makes "macaroni and cheese."  
  • ** Praise be unto her.
  • *** Our poor neighbor lady back in Houston around 1956 used to put a teaspoon of bacon grease into her coffee because it reminded her of what breakfast could taste like.
  • **** Variation - at this point you can toss in some chopped peppers or onions, sauté them for two minutes or more, then remove them from the pan, replace the grease used, and add the sautéed items back in before the last minute of boiling the gravy.  Purists like pure cream gravy with no sautéed additives.
  • ***** You seriously risk lumpy gravy if you try to add a little milk at a time or add more flour after you add the milk, unless you first mix the flour with bacon grease.  If you get lumpy gravy, smooth it by pouring it into a blender and operating at high speed for a moment before serving.  Or toss it out and start over.
Bob Hurt
2460 Persian Drive #70
Clearwater, FL 33763
+1 (727) 669-5511

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