Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bacon Gravy

A homestyle gravy, made with a flour roux, bacon drippings and broth or water here, or for a creamy version, use milk. Shown served over a baked pork tenderloin and rice.

Bacon Gravy

Sunday I made a pork tenderloin. You know the ones - the packages of pre-seasoned pork loins that you literally don't have to do a thing to except pop in the oven or on the grill? Yeah, that's the one. My mother in law picks them up on sale from Winn Dixie all the time and the Cajun happened to comment how good one was when we were over there one Sunday. Lo and behold, next thing I knew she was sending him home with a couple. I told y'all, she's like that!

Dad also sent over these beautiful, freshly boiled crabs, that I promptly dug into, cleaned, ate a few and Food Saver sealed up the rest for a very near in the future crab gumbo. These came from Dad's traps, so they were swimming in the Gulf that very morning! Oh my gosh, they were so good.

We had just gone over to the Bay St. Louis Crab Fest the night before and enjoyed some of the best boiled shrimp I had eaten in awhile - they were nicely seasoned and huge shrimp, jumbo colossals. The Cajun wasn't up to the messy job of picking crabs at the festival though, so we didn't get any, but on the way home I regretted that I didn't pick up a plate to go. Dad must've been reading my mind.

Have I mentioned how much I love my in-laws?

Anyway, long story short, I wanted to serve the roast Mom sent over with some leftover rice from when I made some butter beans the other day. Yes, we eat rice a lot down here, probably more so than the rest of the south, and as much as we love potatoes, probably even more than potatoes. (And yes, I know that's two starches up there on that plate but I had leftover corn on the cob from the 4th to use up too.) So... although we eat plenty of rice with just salt and butter, I wanted a little gravy, but without any good pan drippings to speak of, what to do?

Bacon gravy, that's what!

There's nothing unique about bacon gravy - folks have been making it since the beginning of bacon eatin' time. Often referred to as just water gravy, though it's the best base for our milk-based classic white peppered gravy, what a lot of folks also call sawmill gravy, and what we use on things like classic chicken fried steak.

This version of "bacon gravy" is made the same way, but without the milk for a more savory and less rich version. Of course, I've included the milk option in the recipe because I know if I don't, folks will be hollerin' at me and I love it too. It's real good on some biscuits y'all.

Bacon gravy made with whole milk.
Bacon gravy just simply means that bacon drippings stand in for the fats typically used in gravy making. What? Y'all don't keep one of these in your fridge??

No worries. You'll just have to fry up some bacon. Trust me, there are worse things in life. By the way, crumble up that bacon (after you eat what you want, of course) and put it in a freezer bag or container for those times you just need a bit in a recipe (such as here) or as a garnish. And for all that is holy, please get you a Mason jar or a grease pot and start saving those drippings from now on. Don't think you'll use it? Well, you might be wrong. Just look here and see!

It sure was good gravy on that pork roast and on that rice.

Of course, bacon gravy is perfectly acceptable just poured over a good biscuit too.

Go make some!

For more of my favorite gravy recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

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Recipe: Bacon Gravy

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 5 min |Cook time: 10 min | Yield: About 4-1/2 cups

  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups of whole milk, chicken broth or water, more or less
  • 1 tablespoon chopped bacon, optional
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, or to taste, optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste, as needed

Melt together the bacon drippings and butter in a skillet over medium heat; whisk in the flour a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes until golden in color. Slowly add in 2 cups of the liquid, a little at a time, stirring constantly, adding more water as needed. Bring to a boil, reduce, add bacon and seasonings, and let simmer for about 4 minutes, whisking in additional liquid as needed to correct consistency. Taste and correct seasonings as needed.

Cook's Notes: Recipe may be halved. For a savory gravy use water or broth; for a richer gravy, use whole milk. May also use a combination. I also like the richness butter adds, but if you have it, by all means use a full 1/2 cup of bacon drippings if you prefer. No bacon drippings? Just fry up a skillet of bacon and use the drippings, but start saving the drippings in a refrigerated Mason jar each time you cook bacon in the future. For tips on using it up, click this link to review my post.

Ham Gravy: Substitute drippings from a baked ham for all or part of the 1/4 cup fat.

Ham and Egg Gravy: Prepare as above, using butter, or a combination of butter, ham drippings and/or bacon fat. Saute 1/2 cup chopped baked ham in the fat before adding flour, then proceed with recipe. Remove from heat and stir in 2 chopped, hard boiled egg.

Tasso and Andouille Cream Gravy: Prepare as above, except mince 1/4 pound each of tasso andouille sausage and lightly saute in the butter first. Then add flour and proceed.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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