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Old 01-19-2006, 10:35 AM   #1
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Country Gravy - Keeps getting Lumpy

Guys my girl has been trying to make me country gravy for a biscuits & gravy breakfast and twice in a row it has gotten lumpy and ruined and is really starting to piss me off. here is recipe for it.


also - shouldnt this recipe have butter in it to make a roux with the flour?


please help.

One 12-ounce tube bulk pork sausage
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Baking Powder Biscuits, recipe follows Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, break it up with a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet. Whisk the flour into the fat and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. While whisking, pour the milk into the skillet and bring the gravy to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Stir in the sausage and season with pepper. Split the biscuits in half and divide them among plates. Top each biscuit with some of the gravy and serve immediately.

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Old 01-19-2006, 10:51 AM   #2
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Roux is flour cooked in fat. The fat can be oil, butter, sausage grease, turkey grease, etc.

You probably don't need any butter here, as long as you have a 1/1 proportion of oil to flour -- in other words 2T of sausage grease.

Sprinkle the flour onto the sauasage grease and work it in with a rubber spatula, cooking it and trying to make it into sort of a paste. Do this for about a minute on medium heat. Make sure all the flour is incorporated into the grease.

The switch to a whisk and slowly whisk in the milk. The milk should be warm. Then whisk like all get out. The key, I have found to lump-free gravy is to whisk like **** and add the milk slowly.

Also, using Wondra (brand) instant flour helps a lot, too, as it combines with liquid much better than regular AP flour -- it's made for sauces, gravies and soups. It's in a can in the flour/sugar area.

Then bring up the heat and let the gravy come to a slow boil, as that is what thickens it. Lower heat to simmer and cook for a few minutes. Taste it first, then add salt and pepper (and other seasonings), as needed.
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:53 AM   #3
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Add the flour to the drippings and whisk very well, breaking up the flour. Let it cook just a little to get rid of the raw flour taste. Add the milk very slowly, whisking to incorporate and get rid of the lumps. If the gravy is lumpy put it in a cup and beat it with an immersion blender or in a regular blender and blend. Be careful of the top in the latter case. Remove the little top and put a tea towel over it.
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:56 AM   #4
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This should solve your problem:

One 12-ounce tube bulk pork sausage
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups cold milk
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Baking Powder Biscuits, recipe follows Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, break it up with a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer all the sausage to a bowl, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook off any residual moisture (fat will stop sputtering)Whisk the flour into the fat and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Remove from heat, let sit momentarily. While whisking, pour the milk into the skillet and bring the gravy to a boil. Stir in the sausage and season with pepper. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.If gravy gets too thick, add a little milk. Split the biscuits in half and divide them among plates. Top each biscuit with some of the gravy and serve immediately.

These changes are based on the following premises:

1. Cold liquid hot roux (or vice versa)
2. Residual sausage in the rendered fat will have a tendency to overcook
3. If there's any water in the rendered fat, you'll have lumps
4. If you heat the roux/milk mixture too quickly, you'll get lumps. Cast iron holds heat for quite some time so you have to take the pan off the heat and let it sit for a second to let it cool.
5. Residual graininess of the starch particle can be cooked out with a very low simmer - at least 10 minutes.
6. The sausage needs to simmer in the gravy in order to infuse it with flavor.

I know this is pretty obvious but a whisk is essential. You can't do this with a spoon
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
The milk should be warm.
First rule of gravymaking: Hot roux cold liquid or Cold roux hot liquid. If the roux is hot, the milk must be cold. Warm liquid will cause the starch to gel too soon and you'll get lumps.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:03 AM   #6
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First of all, a roux is made with a combination of fat and flour. The fat does not have to be butter. The pork fat from the sausage is just what you need.

Your recipe and procedure sounds good.

When do you get the lumps? When you add the flour to the fat or when you add the milk?

If the lumps form when you add the flour to the fat, then you may have some residual moisture in the pan from the sausage (water). If it happens when you add the milk, the roux may be the problem.

Before you whisk in the milk, the roux should be a thick creamy, homogeneous mass with no lumps and no unblended flour. If it is, you should not be getting any lumps. The point of a roux is to coat all the individual granules of flour with a layer of fat. This layer of fat prevents the flour from clumping together to for a lump.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott123
First rule of gravymaking: Hot roux cold liquid or Cold roux hot liquid. If the roux is hot, the milk must be cold. Warm liquid will cause the starch to gel too soon and you'll get lumps.

We have had this discussion before!

I have been making roux for 40 years (it was actually one of the first things my mom taught me how to cook on a stove) and never had lumps with warm liquid -- broth or milk. I agree that hot roux/hot liquid is a no no (that's what we agreed on before! )

Big -- use cold milk and see how it comes out. Later when you have the the technique down, use warm milk and see what happens.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:09 AM   #8
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I don't think the temperature of the milk is as critical when using a roux as it is when you are adding a flour/liquid slurry to make a gravy. Then cold added to hot is key.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:51 AM   #9
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I avoid lumps by removing the pan from the heat and adding the cold milk a little at a time, stirring it in as I go. Then I put the pan back on medium heat, and cook and stir as the gravy thickens.
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:24 PM   #10
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As pretty much everyone else has said already, add that milk slowly. I pour in a little bit and whisk until it's incorporated, then add some more. I also use cold milk to whisk into the roux, call me lazy but I can't be bothered with heating up the milk. :)
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:27 PM   #11
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I think there is a rule about adding only cold milk to hot stuff, or vice versa. I would say whisking like mad should do the trick.
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
I avoid lumps by removing the pan from the heat and adding the cold milk a little at a time, stirring it in as I go. Then I put the pan back on medium heat, and cook and stir as the gravy thickens.
Yup... this is what I'm thinking, although I don't take it from the heat. Add the milk VERY, VERY slowly to the roux. I don't even have to worry about the sausage being in there. I usually fry 4 slices of American-style bacon, remove them (bacon grease makes divine gravy), then add ALREADY COOKED sausage. Sprinkle the flour over the whole deal, whisking. When I add the milk, I do it tiny bits at a time, whisking all the while. I've never had lumpy gravy. No butter needed, as stated above.
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:57 PM   #13
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I have made gravy of all kinds for decades and have NEVER heated the liquid to add.
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Old 01-19-2006, 01:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic
Yup... this is what I'm thinking, although I don't take it from the heat. Add the milk VERY, VERY slowly to the roux. I don't even have to worry about the sausage being in there. I usually fry 4 slices of American-style bacon, remove them (bacon grease makes divine gravy), then add ALREADY COOKED sausage. Sprinkle the flour over the whole deal, whisking. When I add the milk, I do it tiny bits at a time, whisking all the while. I've never had lumpy gravy. No butter needed, as stated above.
I usually add a little bacon grease (I always have some saved in the fridge) to the skillet, as the sausage we buy is very lean and doesn't make enough grease for the amount of gravy we want. I don't bother taking the sausage out to make the gravy either.
My dog loves any leftover gravy. She's a spoiled little mutt!
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
I avoid lumps by removing the pan from the heat and adding the cold milk a little at a time, stirring it in as I go. Then I put the pan back on medium heat, and cook and stir as the gravy thickens.
Mylegsbig, I had to add my two cents here.....
Roux, sauce, gravy or whatever it is called, is a tough exercise in "Heat Control". I have learned the pan heat to be the only culprit AND the only "solution" to lumpy gravy. The above quote skillfuly shows the process. The stirring, beating, shaking or whisking MUST go on from start to finish.
So there is no advantage to ruining your seasoning to your iron skillet by making gravy in it. Use something else.
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:06 AM   #16
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Sausage Gravy

This is pretty much a weekly staple for us.... it took me a while to get this right... but I have found the hot roux and cold milk is the key and to bring the mixture to a boil. I have never had to whisk it... it does fine on it's own.

Once I have my roux the color I like it (a sandy blonde) then I pour the milk in. I just dump it in with the heat set to medium. Then I use a rubber spatula and scrape the bottoms and side to get the roux off the bottom and sides of the skillet. Give it a good stir and bring to a boil.... reduce heat and simmer. Nary a problem with lumps. I don't even think about it anymore. Tell your gal to keep trying... she will get it.
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Old 01-23-2006, 01:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
We have had this discussion before!

I have been making roux for 40 years (it was actually one of the first things my mom taught me how to cook on a stove) and never had lumps with warm liquid -- broth or milk. I agree that hot roux/hot liquid is a no no (that's what we agreed on before! )
Oh, yeah, I remember now :) Sorry, I talk to so many people about this stuff, over time it all becomes one big blur.

I think that this particular scenario involves an aspect that makes a hot roux/warm liquid problematic. Iron. Both iron's ability to store heat as well as the high thermal mass construction of iron cooking utensils.

Even if you remove the pan from the burner, the latent heat stored in the pan could be sufficient to quickly bring 2 cups of warm milk to the starch gelling temperature. If you hit that temp before the roux is dispersed throughout the liquid- lumps.
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Old 01-23-2006, 02:45 PM   #18
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I should be clearer in that I don't heat up the milk. It's basically room temp, but not cold from the ice box.
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
I usually add a little bacon grease (I always have some saved in the fridge) to the skillet, as the sausage we buy is very lean and doesn't make enough grease for the amount of gravy we want. I don't bother taking the sausage out to make the gravy either.
My dog loves any leftover gravy. She's a spoiled little mutt!
It's true, the secret to sausage gravy is bacon grease =P
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Old 02-22-2006, 07:09 PM   #20
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That's a good lookin' pan of gravy, Bill. Where's the biscuits?

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