Every Fall I start to crave all those delicious comfort food staples I've been avoiding during the warm summer months. Biscuits and Gravy is at the top of my list of perfect comfort foods! I love this version because of its play on sweet and savory flavors and because it's so incredibly simple to make! I think foods like this can appear challenging or unapproachable, but making your own gravy is actually one of the easiest things you can do! Not to mention so, so, so much better than any store-bought abomination you might encounter. I encourage you to not be intimidated by this southern kitchen staple. Give it a try, I promise your brunch guests won’t be disappointed!
In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, crumble to sausage into the pan and let it cook for a few minutes before stirring. You want to get some caramelization going. Continue to brown the sausage until completely cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. While your sausage is cooking, grab a fine mesh sieve and set it over a medium size mixing bowl. Once the sausage is completely cooked, pour the sausage along with any drippings and fat that have rendered into the sieve. Place the pot back on the heat and turn it on low. Let the drippings fall away from the pork and collect in the mixing bowl. You can use a wooden spoon to press the pork into the sieve to help release more fat. This is what you're using to make the roux which will thicken the gravy, so you want to get every drop. You should have roughly a half cup of pork fat to use. If you find yourself short, add butter to make up the difference. You want an equal ratio of fat to flour.
Return the pot to medium low heat, add the pork fat and flour. Using a whisk, mix the four into the fat to create a roux, it should bubble a bit and start to take on some slight color, about 2 minutes, whisking the whole time. You want to cook out the raw flavor of the four. Add the sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the roux and whisk to combine. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Carefully add the milk to the roux, whisking the mixture the entire time. Continue to whisk until the roux and milk have come together. Turn the heat up to medium high to bring the gravy to a simmer, you want little bubbles not a full boil, so play with the heat as you go. This is where you need some patience. You must stir the gravy often to prevent lumps from forming and from the bottom burning. The gravy should take 5-10 minutes to fully come together. If your gravy appears too thick, you can add more milk to loosen it up. At this point you can ditch the whisk for a wooden spoon and stir in the crumbed cooked sausage and maple syrup. Continue to cook for another few minutes and taste for seasoning. You may need more salt and pepper at this point, so adjust carefully.
Serve with warm biscuits (I prefer homemade, but the canned version will work just fine) or over thick toast. Yum!
*Roux: Flour and fat cooked together to thicken sauces and gravy.