1. Many possible, acceptable outcomes

    To make the gravy is not a difficult task, yet it does require some experience before you can get it right each and every time. And even then, no two batches will be exactly alike, which is good news for the beginning gravy maker. Perfection is contained within a fairly wide spectrum of possible outcomes.

    What goes in

    Gravy – in this case sausage gravy – contains three essential ingredients. First is sausage. My personal favorite is Jimmy Dean, hot variety, but any breakfast sausage will work. If you have links, cut them into pieces first. Second is flour. Third is milk.

    How much goes in

    As for amounts, you can be flexible. If you’re making gravy for two people, figure about four ounces of sausage for each person, adding up to eight ounces which equals half a typical package. There’s no hard and fast rule, but four ounces per person is a good place to start. The flour is a bit more demanding, but a table spoon for each four ounces of sausage should do the trick. The amount of milk is not so important. If the gravy is too thick, add more milk. Not thick enough? Leave the gravy to boil on the stove until it attains the correct viscosity.

    How to put it in

    To begin, put a skillet on the stove, turn on the fire and toss in the sausage. As the meat cooks, crumble it. If you like big chunks, do less crumbling. If you like small, do more crumbling. Very simple, very easy. Cook the sausage until is it browned. Now add the flour.

    What to do with it once it’s in

    With the flour in the pan with the sausage, stir the mixture. You want the flour to soak up the liquefied fat and coat the sausage chunks evenly. Once everything has an even layer of flour, allow the mixture to cook some more while you stir it. Once you’re satisfied that everything looks cooked, add the milk.

    How to achieve consistency

    Take some care with the milk. The pan will be hot and the milk will immediately boil as you pour it in. You must stir with vigor at once. The gravy will thicken immediately, and you must stir fast enough to keep the gravy’s consistency as uniform as you can. This moment is the most suspenseful time of the whole operation. It is when you will discover whether you have guessed right on the the amount of flour and milk. It’s beautiful when your amounts work out just right, but that occurs only rarely. Most of the time you’ll be adding milk or allowing the gravy to boil until you get the consistency you’re looking for.

    What seasonings to use

    Seasoning for sausage gravy can be as simple as salt and pepper. Add some salt and give the stuff a taste. If it needs a little more, add a little more and then give it a taste. Repeat the process until you’re satisfied. Remember that you are the cook and the gravy is yours. Take possession of it. Add some pepper until you’re happy with the flavor. Your gravy is done.

    To customize your gravy

    If you like spicy, you can add more black pepper or some red pepper flakes will do the trick. Instead of salt, use chicken bouillon. I like Wyler’s in the jar that you can shake out like salt. It adds more flavor than just salt. If you have it, some chicken stock (which requires an article all its own) will add a magical quality to your gravy. A few drops of Worcestershire along with some Tabasco sauce can enhance the flavor. A little finely dices onion can make a pleasant difference. No need to get too crazy on the seasonings, though. It is a simple recipe and best when kept simple.

    How to deal with failure

    If your gravy fails, resist the temptation to start crying and give up. All you have to do is start over. It’s okay to make a few errors before figuring out the proportions of sausage, flour and milk that will produce a gravy you like. Plus, gravy can be repaired. If it is too thin, you have two choices. Let the liquid boil off is one choice. Or you may cook some flour and butter together in a separate pan and add it to the gravy until it gets thick enough. If its too thick, add more milk. You will have to be the judge on your gravy’s reparability. Sometimes it’s just better and easier to start over. It’s no big deal to admit defeat and begin anew. Your diners will admire you for your courageous, never-give-up spirit, for your humility and for your sound judgement.

    Where to put your gravy

    Sausage gravy usually goes over biscuits, which, if you’re going for an authentic meal, you must bake yourself. Toasted English muffins accept gravy as does plain old toasted bread. A couple of eggs cooked any way you like make a nice addition. On the plate put the biscuits, muffins or toast, hit it with the gravy and then add the eggs on top. That’s all there is to it.

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    Practice will build your gravy making skills to the point where

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