Oct 4, 2014

"GRAVY" is my middle name!

Sliced pork rib roast with mustard gravy
(recipe below) 
Click on photo to view larger
Gravy is a wonderful word. It's like a warm blanket on a cold night, comfort food at its best. What would turkey be without gravy? Sort of like a desert without an oasis. 

Gravy is usually considered a type of sauce. It’s often made from meat juices combined with broth or milk and thickened with a starch. There are so many kinds of gravies for so many types of dishes, but they all have one thing in common, everybody wants more.  I've often thought that "Gravy" should be my middle name because I love it so much. Would you go into a restaurant named Gravy? Yes, absolutely yes! 

So hop on to my gravy train as I dance you through a few of my favorite gravy recipes.

Basic Pan Gravy
This recipe is suitable for any sort of roast, whether meat, poultry, or game. You should ideally use the appropriate stock for enhancing the gravy—and by that I mean lamb stock for roast lamb, homemade chicken stock for roast chicken, and so on.

Pan and drippings from a roast beef, chicken, turkey, pork loin, or other cut of meat
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups stock, preferably homemade, warmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

After roasting the meat, transfer it to a warmed platter or plate and set aside to rest.

Skim the excess fat from the surface of the liquid that collected in the roasting pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons juices mingled with a little fat. Place the roasting pan over 1 or 2 burners on medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the caramelized pan juices, then sprinkle the flour over the top, stirring constantly to blend it well with the fat and juices. Cook, still stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the flour becomes a light golden color.

Still stirring, slowly add the warm stock to the roasting pan. Bring to a boil and cook—say it with us, still stirring constantly—until the sauce thickens and the mixture is reduced by about a third and has a gravylike consistency. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Serve immediately.

Gravy Variations:

Herb and Mustard Gravy

Simply add a small handful of your favorite herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or sage, to the gravy as it reduces. Whisk in 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard before straining.

Wine Gravy
Substitute 1/3 cup red wine, port, or white wine for 1/3 cup stock and add gradually, as you did with the stock.

Beer Gravy
Add a 12-ounce bottle dark beer to the gravy in place of 1 1/2 cups stock. Wonderful with roast beef or pork.

Loco Moco with Brown Gravy
This is classic Hawaiian comfort food. The gravy is what makes this dish slide down so onolicious!

Ingredients for Ground Beef Steak:
1 pound lean ground beef (hamburger)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Ingredients for Brown Gravy:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup onions, chopped
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
dash of soy sauce
dash of Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the rest:
4 eggs (cooked sunny-side-up or over easy)
1 tablespoon butter

4 cups cooked white rice, mixed with a slice of chopped spam and green onions

After you have seasoned the ground beef with salt, pepper and onion powder, form them into four patties. Add canola oil to a large frying pan, cook beef patties until they are cooked to your liking, then remove and keep warm. 

For the gravy, combine the butter and oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until slightly browned. Add the flour and stir until pale brown, then gradually add the beef stock. Stir until the gravy thickens and turns brown in about three minutes. add garlic, ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Taste and season with a dash of soy sauce and Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper if needed. Set gravy aside. 

Fry eggs (sunny-side up or over easy) in butter. Divide hot rice mixture onto four plates or bowls, top with hamburger patties and hot gravy, top that off with the fried eggs. Serve with side dishes of your choice; mac salad, fried saimin, or perhaps just a big slice of orange. 

Makes 4 big serving.

Grilled 'Opakapaka with Hawaiian Butter Sauce
'Opakapaka is also known as the Hawaiian pink snapper, a white fish with a delicate flavor. This fish is great grilled, then combined with a delicious butter sauce. Naturally you can use other fish for this recipe, like red snapper.

4 fresh ‘Opakapaka fillets, about 6 ounces each or use red snapper
Hawaiian Butter Sauce (recipe below)
cilantro for garnish
sliced lime for garnish

First make the Hawaiian Butter Sauce (recipe below). Then marinate ‘Opakapaka in 1/2 cup of the sauce for 10-15 minutes. Remove from marinade and grill very quickly, about 3 to 4 minutes on both sides. Brush fish with marinade as it cooks. Serve on plates garnished with cilantro and lime wedges on the side. Serve with white rice, topped with Shitaki mushrooms, that have been sautéd in Hawaiian butter sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Hawaiian Butter Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup finely diced Maui onion
2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese 'Sriracha' sauce
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil over low heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and shallots until softened, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Using a whisk, whip the softened butter until fluffy, then slowly add the Sriracha and Thai fish sauce. When the fish sauce and Sriracha have been incorporated into the butter, add the cooled onions, shallots, and garlic, and then add the parsley, whisk to blend. Makes about 1 3/4 cups of sauce. Note: This sauce is also delicious used as a dipping sauce for grilled lobster or shrimp.

Shrimp, Grits & Gravy
This is a wonderful Southern breakfast dish using white stone ground grits, my Southern roots are showing again. The key to this dish is the grits, the white corn should be coarsely ground, ideally by a stone grinding wheel. It actually makes a huge difference in flavor. Good grits come out smooth, delicate and flecked with bits of the corn hulls that makes for a radically different experience compared to its Italian cousin polenta. 

If you are serious about food, then here's where to get your white stone ground grits, Weisenberger Mill, in southern Scott County, Kentucky. Click here, then click on "grits" at the top of the page, you want "white" grits. I've used this father/son mill for years. They usually ship UPS, but they will ship to Hawaii via Priority Mail if you ask, much cheaper that way. Their pancake mix is the best I've ever had, while you're ordering, get a bag of that also. Sometimes they will send you little sample bags with your order, love that!

Ingredients for the grits:
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white stone ground grits
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 tablespoons butter

Ingredients for the shrimp:
1 pound fresh medium shrimp not peeled
2 cups water
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced ripe fresh tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Combine the water and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually add the grits, stirring, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook till the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat; add the cheese and butter, and stir till melted. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, peel and devein the shrimp, combine the shells and water in a saucepan, and reserve the shrimp. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, cook till the liquid is reduced by half, and strain the stock into a bowl.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring, till softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and thyme and cook about 3 minutes longer. Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir well. Add the reserved shrimp and cook, stirring, till they turn pink, about 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, cook 3 minutes longer, add the tomato paste, and stir well. Add the cream, Worcestershire, salt and pepper, Tabasco, and, if necessary, a little more stock to make a gravy that easily coats the shrimp. Heat well.

To serve, spoon a mound of grits in the center of each serving plate, spoon shrimp around the grits, and sprinkle parsley over the top. Makes 4 servings.

Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom & Leek Gravy
I love pork tenderloin, always tender, fat free, and inexpensive. Cook it with a wonderful gravy and you have a winner.

2 pound pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pinch of cayenne pepper or to taste
1 leek, halved, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cut tenderloin into 1/2 inch thick, bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pork tenderloin. Brown for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, cayenne pepper and leek. Cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until leeks are soft. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Increase heat to high and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add cream gradually, stirring. Simmer for 4 minutes or until gravy is thickened. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with brown rice and green peas. Makes 4 servings.

Chuck Roast with Gravy
I make this recipe almost every other week. My wife loves pot roast, and this one is easy with lots of gravy. One of the great things about pot roast is that beef chuck gets very tender after slowly cooking for 3 hour, you can add whatever you have on hand to the pot, mushrooms, green beans, canned tomatoes, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, etc. Make it your own.

2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
5 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cube of beef bouillon
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into bit sized pieces
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
salt and black pepper

Combine the first three ingredients. Rub down the chuck steak with the mixture of salt, pepper & brown sugar and let sit for a half hour on the counter.

Simmer 5 cups of water in a sauce pan with soy sauce and one cube of beef bouillon.

Heat a dutch oven on top of the stove to medium heat. Add about 3 tablespoons canola oil until it is hot, then brown the rubbed down chuck roast on both sides without burning it.

Remove the roast and add the onion, celery and garlic. Reduce the heat slightly so the vegetables cook together for about 5 minutes, without letting them burn.

Stir in the half cup of flour to the vegetables, and let the flour brown slightly while not letting it burn. Now add the hot water, soy sauce and bouillon into the pot and stir. Add the roast back into the dutch oven, with the mixture.

Put the lid on the dutch oven, and put the whole thing in the preheated 300˚F oven for 2 hours, then add the carrots and potatoes, pushing them down into the gravy. Return the dutch oven to the oven and cook for 1 more hour, or until the meat is fork tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve roast, potatoes and gravy with a crisp salad, and some crusty bread, biscuits, or anything you would like to dip in this wonderful beef gravy! Makes 4 servings.

Rosemary Pork Rib Roast with Mustard Gravy
The Moloka'i Dispatch published this recipe last year and I have gotten a lot of good comments about it here on Moloka'i. Give it a try!

1-3 1/2 to 4 pound pork shoulder roast
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/3 cup rosemary, finely chopped
2 carrots - rough cut
1 small onion - rough cut and include skins
2 stalks of celery - rough cut
6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon grainy mustard

Defrost pork, if frozen, completely a couple of days in the refrigerator, then let it sit covered on your kitchen counter to room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450˚F.

In the center of a roasting pan add your rough cut vegetables. Rinse the rack of pork well and pat dry. Rub the olive oil into the meat, then sprinkle entire rack with the sea salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Place rack, fat side up, on top of cut vegetables. Place pan in preheated oven at 450˚F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce heat to 325˚F and continue to roast for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature has reached 150˚F with an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast. Note: The general rule is to roast your pork roast for 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 150˚F. 

Remove the pork from the oven placing it on a cutting board and allow it to rest, covered with foil, for 20 minutes before slicing it. This will allow all the juices to remain in the pork, rather than have them run all over the cutting board, making the meat dry. 

While the pork is resting, remove the roasted vegetables from the roasting pan and discard, or give the carrots to your dog as I do, he loves them. Now remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil that remains in the pan. Set the pan across 2 burners turned to medium high. Sprinkle the pan with the flour and brown the flour, stirring it in the remaining oil, to a light brown color. Now add the wine and chicken stock to the roasting pan. With a wooden spoon stir the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until it thickens, making your pan gravy. Finally stir in the mustard. Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper if needed. Cut the rack along the bones, making even portions of the pork, serve with mashed potatoes, with pan gravy and fresh green beans, or whatever vegetable you like. Makes 5 servings.

Oven Roasted Steak with Red Wine Pan Sauce
There are times when char-broiled steaks are just not convenient, and I have to say that this recipe is just as good, easy, and works every time.

2 (6 ounce) 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick filet mignon or rib-eye steaks
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tablespoons butter

Bring the steaks to room temperature. Rub the steaks with 1/4 teaspoon oil per side and generously season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 500˚F (a very hot oven produces a juicy interior). Place a 10-inch ovenproof skillet or cast-iron skillet in the oven as it preheats. When oven reaches 500˚F, use a baking mitt to remove the pan from oven. Be careful! The pan and handle will be extremely hot. Place the pan on the stovetop and turn the heat to high. Immediately place steaks in the middle of the hot, dry pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes without moving; turn steaks with tongs, and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pan with the seared steaks to the hot oven. Roast in the center of the oven until the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 3 to 5 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. 

Rare – 125˚F
Medium Rare – 130˚F
Medium – 140˚F
Medium Well – 150˚F
Well Done – 160˚F

Transfer the cooked steaks to a warm platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let meat rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven) and the juices redistribute. 

While the steaks are resting, place the skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup dry red wine to the skillet and bring to a boil. As the wine boils, use a wooden spoon to scrap any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid boil until reduced to approximately 1/3 cup. Remove pan from heat. Add the butter, swirling the pan to incorporate it into the sauce. Serve the steaks whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates. Pour the sauce over the steaks just before serving. Makes 2 servings.

Braised Sirloin Tip with Mushroom Gravy
Sirloin tip, unlike top sirloin, is an economical cut of beef because it is very lean, and somewhat dry and chewy. This recipe slowly braises the beef in a low oven until it is tender and full of flavor, with lots of good mushroom gravy.

1 beef sirloin tip roast (1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons grated onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups fresh button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

In a small bowl, combine oil, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, onion, and thyme. Rub the roast all over with this mixture and let rest, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. One hour before cooking the beef, remove from refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature. Heat oven to 325˚F. Heat a cast iron or oven proof skillet on high. After about a minute, place roast in the hot skillet and brown meat for about 2 minutes per side. Pour heated beef stock and sliced mushrooms around roast, and cover tightly with foil. Bake for about 3 hours or until meat is fork tender.

Remove roast to a cutting board and keep warm by covering it with foil for 15 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, pour drippings and mushrooms into a saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into drippings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Taste gravy and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve sliced beef and gravy with mashed potatoes, and asparagus. Makes 4 servings.

Biscuits & Milk/sausage Gravy
I think this was the first thing I learned how to cook. My parents went out of town and left my sister, brother and I with a baby sitter named Mrs. Tiller. She was a great Southern cook and knew that I was interested in what she was making, biscuits with milk sausage gravy.

12 ounce package bulk Pork Sausage, I like Jimmy Dean® brand
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Crumble sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat 5-6 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk; cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sausage mixture over warm baking powder biscuits, (recipe below). Makes 8 servings.

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450°F. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender, and add the milk, blending quickly, just until dry ingredients are moistened. A sticky dough will result.

Turn the dough out on a floured board. Flour your hands and knead the dough 3 or 4 times. Important: Do not overhandle dough. Roll or pat to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter.

For soft-sided biscuits, place close together on a lightly greased baking sheet or in a lightly greased cast iron skillet (vegetable cooking spray works just fine). For biscuits that are crusty all around, place about an inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 450°F for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with pork sausage, fried eggs, and lots of gravy. Makes a dozen biscuits.

Oven Fried Chicken and Gravy
Crispy oven fried chicken with gravy. Great no matter where you live.

Ingredients for fried chicken:
1 cut up whole chicken (8 pieces)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
black pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Ingredients for gravy:
3 tablespoons chicken drippings
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth

Place the chicken in salted water for 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place vegetable oil and butter in shallow baking pan and set in oven to heat and melt. Combine flour and seasonings in a plastic bag. Shake pieces of chicken in flour mixture. Remove hot pan from oven and arrange chicken pieces on it, skin side down being sure not to crowd. Place pan in oven and bake 30 minutes. Turn chicken so that the skin side is up and continue to bake 20 to 30 minutes more until nicely browned and juices run clear. Remove to a platter and keep warm allowing to rest for at least 10 minutes.
For gravy, scrape baking pan and place 3 tablespoons of the accumulated cooking fat and browned bits into a saucepan. Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour and cook 1-2 minutes until well combined. Stir in 2 cups chicken broth and continue cooking and whisking until gravy boils and thickens. Cook for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans. Makes 2-4 servings.

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