Gravy is an English sauce made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. It is a smooth, non-chunky liquid. Ready-made cubes and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts. Canned gravies are also available. Gravy is commonly served with roasts, meatloaf, rice, and potato dishes.
Gravies are often thickened with a starch, starting with a roux
made of wheat flour, cornstarch/cornflour
, or arrowroot
. The liquids from cooked meat, the liquids from dissolved bouillon cubes/stock cubes
, or stock
are added gradually to the mixture, while continually stirring to ensure that it mixes properly and the thickener does not clump. In some recipes, the animal fat in the roux may be omitted as part of the base content. It may be replaced with cornstarch/cornflour alone (see cowboy roux
) or is sometimes omitted entirely.
Types of gravy
- Egg gravy is a breakfast gravy that is served over biscuits. Meat drippings (usually from bacon) and flour are used to make a thick roux. Water is added, the gravy is salted and peppered to taste, and the liquid is brought back up to a boil. A well-beaten egg is then slowly added while the gravy is stirred or whisked swiftly, cooking the egg immediately and separating it into small fragments in the gravy.
- "God's gravy" is a term used for juices naturally emanating from meat joints during roasting served unadulterated as gravy.
- Giblet gravy has the giblets of turkey or chicken added when it is to be served with those types of poultry, or uses stock made from the giblets.
- Onion gravy is made from large quantities of slowly sweated, chopped onions mixed with stock and wine. Commonly served with sausages and mash, chops, or other grilled or fried meat cuts which by way of the cooking method would not produce their own gravy.
- Redeye gravy is a gravy made from the drippings of ham fried in a skillet/frying pan. The pan is deglazed with coffee or water. Coffee is the traditional method. A small amount of sugar is often added also. This gravy is a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine and is usually served over ham, grits or biscuits.
- Tomato gravy is a gravy made from canned tomatoes, flour, and usually a small amount of fat. This is a Southern U.S. dish.
- Vegetable gravy or Vegetarian gravy is gravy made with boiled or roasted vegetables. A quick and flavorful vegetable gravy can be made from any combination of vegetable broth or vegetable stock, flour, and one of either butter, oil, or vegan margarine. One recipe uses vegetarian Bouillon cubes with cornstarch (corn flour) as a thickener (Cowboy Roux), which is whisked into boiling water. Sometimes vegetable juices are added to enrich the flavor, which may give the gravy a dark green color. Wine could be added. There are also commercially produced instant gravy granules which are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
- White gravy (Sawmill gravy in Appalachian cuisine) is the gravy typically used in biscuits and gravy and chicken-fried steak. It is essentially a Béchamel sauce, with the roux being made of meat drippings and flour. Milk or cream is added and thickened by the roux; once prepared, black pepper and bits of mild sausage or chicken liver are normally added. Besides white and sawmill gravy, common names include cream gravy, country gravy, and milk gravy.
A popular American dish is mashed potatoes and gravy. Gravy is also commonly eaten with pork
, American style biscuits
, Yorkshire pudding
, and stuffing
. One Southern American variation is chocolate gravy eaten with American biscuits. In Australia, Canada and the northern parts of the UK
and gravy is seen as a popular dish. It is also common with traditional "Sunday Roast
". Gravy is an integral part of the Canadian
. A Southern U.S.
dish that has white gravy is chicken fried steak
In British cuisine, the word gravy only refers to the meat based sauce derived from meat juices, stock cubes or gravy granules. Use of the word 'gravy' does not include other thickened sauces. One of the most popular forms is onion gravy which is eaten with Yorkshire Pudding and roast meat.
In many parts of Asia, particularly India, Malaysia and Singapore, the word "gravy" is used to refer to any thickened liquid part of a dish. For example, the liquid part of a thick curry may be referred to as gravy.
In 2006, Dave Axworthy of Cape Breton
, Nova Scotia
, legally changed his forename to Gravy, due to the notable popularity he achieved in town for his apparent infatuation with Gravy. He is the only known case of someone with the name Gravy , however he is not the first with a first name related to food
In the Canadian series Ed, Edd n Eddy, Ed is very fond of the stuff.
Gravy, and its perceived richness, have contributed to its use in several cultural contexts:
- The idiom "gravy train", used to refer to any lucrative endeavor.
- Used as a descriptive noun, and synonymous to the word copasetic, gravy indicates that all is well. "Don't worry, we're gravy."
- Also used as slang for extra benefits in the idiom "everything else is gravy."
- Some descendants of Italian emigrants will call tomato sauce, gravy.
- Gravy has only just recently been made into potato crisp form, by Australian radio comedy duo Hamish & Andy. They call it The People's Chip.