I have failed at making biscuits and gravy many, many more times than I’ve succeeded. However, after making two good batches in a row (never mind that they were almost a year apart), I don’t believe I’ll ever fail again. You can see success number one over here and success number two above. I now know the secret to thickening gravy.
The secret to making thick and flavorful gravy is making a good roux. To make the roux, combine equal parts fat and flour in a large pan (preferably cast iron). One tablespoon each of fat and flour per person ought to do it. If you want stay-where-you-put-it gravy, you can add more flour a spoonful at a time until the grease won’t absorb it. Then cook the mixture until it is a deep brown color. Then add the liquid and stir slowly and constantly. If you’re a worry wart, you can spend the next twenty minutes agonizing over whether or not the gravy will turn out. But there’s really no need to worry — if you’ve done your work up front with the roux, the gravy will always turn out.
1 lbs country sausage
2 Tb fat (from sausage or bacon)
2 Tb flour
2 cups milk
Brown the sausage in a large pan. Cook it slowly over a low heat to render the most fat.
After the sausage is cooked, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and save it for later.
Asses how much grease you have. You can either eyeball it or pour it into a small liquid measure. If you don’t have enough grease, add some bacon grease (presumably you have a jar of it in your refrigerator).
Add the flour to the grease. Cook over low heat until the clumps are stirred out and the mixture is brown. If necessary, add more flour to achieve a more pasty consistency.
Stirring constantly, slowly pour in the milk. Bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer. In fact, it may not form bubbles because you’ll be stirring the entire time. Cook until the gravy thickens, stirring to prevent the bottom from burning or the top from scumming. It could take 30 minutes to thicken.
Salt and pepper the gravy generously, stir in the sausage, and serve over biscuits.