Monday, April 11, 2011

Perfecting Home

"Texas: Where the tea is sweet & accents are sweeter, summer starts in April, front porches are wide & words are long, macaroni & cheese is a vegetable, pecan pie is a staple, y'all is a proper pronoun, chicken is fried, & biscuits come with gravy, everything is darlin' & someone is always getting their heart blessed . . . "

One of my fellow Texas friends posted this on facebook and it was something I just loved. And also, if you aren't a Texan, but have been subjected to their seemingly insane opinions on things like how "pecan" is really pronounced or what a proper gravy consists of this little unknown quote can help to explain. Or you can just wait until you invite a Texan over for dinner and they completely hijack your kitchen trying to recreate the perfect Texas gravy.

To explain a bit further my crazy love of this seemingly insignificant almost after thought of a sauce, gravy was one of the very first foods from home I worked to perfect when I moved to New York, because, well, a good gravy is nearly impossible to find in these parts. And by gravy I mean stick to your ribs, good ol' fashioned Southern cream gravy (aka white gravy). I know most people do a brown gravy with meatloaf or meats in general but call me craz...err...Texan, if I'm going to have gravy then it's got to be the cream kind. The kind you smother over biscuits, and drown chicken fried steak in and only make on special occasion weekends because it's such a fattening indulgence.
My Mom made gravy sparingly for that very reason. Despite growing up in the heart of Tex-Mex, with an East Texas culinary background she believed in eating healthy and instilling those habits in her children, which has definitely paid off... eating those indulgent meals it wouldn't be any fun if you could do it every day. And Homesick Texan says it the best on her own blog while waxing poetic in the way only a Texan can on cream gravies.

Cream Gravy
2 Tbl pan drippings (with as many of the brown bits as you can get), vegetable oil, butter
2 Tbl flour
1- 1 1/2 c. milk
Salt/pepper to taste

1. Scrape brown bits into the pan with any oil from cooking the meat over a low to medium heat. Add butter or vegetable oil if not exactly 2 Tbl. Add the flour and whisk to bring together until it starts to turn a darker brown (also how roux is made)

2. Slowly whisk in milk and try to whisk out any lumps. I find this is easy enough if you whisk continuously at a moderate pace. Turn heat to low and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens- if too thick you can thin with more milk, water, or stock. Crack pepper over and taste. If necessary add salt- but depending on the drippings and if the butter is salted this may not be necessary.

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