Easy Old South–Biscuits ‘n Sausage Gravy

by Sarah on February 11, 2011

I’m hungry. Hmmm…what’s in the fridge. There’s this, but it takes forever to cook. Well, there’s that, but gosh I don’t really feel like having that.  What about this?  No, not that, I had that for lunch.

Oh, look here—a package of homemade breakfast sausage, made by my expert sausage-making friend Jason Azevedo, of local Testa Duro Salumi fame.  Breakfast burgers?  No…..sausage gravy.  Old fashioned, coffee-shop Grandma style sausage gravy.

As far as the biscuits go, use Marion Cunningham’s biscuit recipe, or your own personal favorite.  I experimented with an ancient cookbook and had OK results.  They were edible, but not remarkable enough for me to share the recipe.

This sausage gravy is something akin to what your Southern or Okie grandma used to make for you.  Or you wished she made for you.  It’s a standard at old-fashioned coffee shops and breakfast joints across the U.S.

Nana wasn’t from the South, but my Grandma Bea was from Tennessee

My mother was born in Memphis.  Grandma Bea moved to California amid some kind of scandal(!)  with her 4 children and one-in-the-oven.  I heard through family lore that after my mother’s father ran off, Grandma Bea may or may not have gotten friendly with a sailor…well, it was wartime…who may or may not have been a little crazy….so Grandma Bea decided to pack up and move West and make a new life for herself.

The thing is, she never made me any sausage gravy.

Grandma Bea was the sort of lady that when you came over she would sit you down and then flutter like a little old hummingbird, finding little dishes of this, a little bowl of olives, pickles, maybe some bread, some leftover Jell-O, all manner of morsels to snack on.

But rarely a full meal.

As with Nana, I was spoiled rotten by Grandma Bea.

I don’t know if it was because my mom died when I was just a little bitty thing and she didn’t get to see me very often, or if I reminded her of her dead daughter, but I always felt special and just a little badly for my cousins who saw her all the time and didn’t seem to get the special treatment I did.

But then again, maybe she made them sausage gravy.


Homemade Sausage Gravy

4-6 breakfast sausage links

1/4 cup minced onion

1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

salt, pepper, cayenne


Note:  I used raw breakfast sausage, and they were large links–use the larger amount if your links are small.

Heat a cast iron pan or other heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.  Remove the sausages from their casings and add to the pan.  Brown.  Add onion and sage, and cook until the onion is soft.

Lower heat.  Sprinkle flour over the top of the meat and stir around the pan.  Let cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the flour doesn’t burn.

Raise the heat to medium-high.  Slowly pour in the milk, a little at a time, whisking at the same time.  The gravy will thicken.  Add more milk if needed.

Season the gravy with salt, black pepper and cayenne.  I used about 1/4 tsp of cayenne and it gave the gravy a nice kick.

Spoon over hot fluffy biscuits and garnish with some nice fresh chives.

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