Sounds kind of crazy right? It is seriously crazy good! I like the flavor of sausage but I never like feeding it to my family. First of all, seeing all of the fat and little pieces of veins and whatever else is ground up in there is mildly off-putting. I always seem to bite into little chunks of gristle or bone . Frankly, it kind of grosses me out.
That being said, my mom makes the BEST biscuits and sausage gravy on the planet so I took a version of her recipe and replaced the sausage with ham. You can definitely eat it with confidence. We are using canola oil instead of sausage fat and milk instead of heavy cream so even though it’s not really a low-fat recipe, it is so much better for you and your family and it tastes amazing. As far as the biscuits go, I have made a ton of different recipes and they always come up short to the good ol’ Pillsbury Grands. I love the fluffy flakiness and always seem disappointed in the homemade kind. If you have a recipe that produces fluffy, flakey biscuits, I would be forever thankful if you would share it and with your permission, I would love to share it on my blog.
OK! Let’s get down to gravy…
2 cups diced ham (Get out your leftovers *see “Fall-Off-the-Bone Crock Pot Ham”)
3 Tbsp canola oil (butter, vegetable oil or vegetable shortening will also work just fine)
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup beef broth (as mentioned in other recipes, I use 1/2 c. water and 1/2 tsp beef base)
3 1/2 cups milk (I use 1% because it is what we drink, the higher the milk fat, the creamier your gravy is going to be so this part is up to you. If you want it really rich and creamy, go for the half-and-half or heavy cream.)
1 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp seasoning salt, or salt to taste
First order of business, preheat your oven and get your biscuits cooking. (Don’t forget to set your timer).
Add the flour to the ham and oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. You have now made a roux (plus ham) which is the basic thickening agent for most gravies, sauces, soups and stews. A roux is most commonly made with butter but can be made with any kind of vegetable oils, lard or rendered fat (aka meat drippings). When making a roux, you want to cook the mixture, stirring constantly for at least 2-3 minutes to eliminate that “floury” taste, cooking until the desired color is reached. The darker your roux, the less thickening power it will have but darker colors = more flavor. When cooking brown meat gravies, you should cook your roux until it is golden brown. Darker brown roux is generally used for Cajun or creole cooking. For our white gravy, we want the roux to have very little color and flavor so 2-3 minutes will be sufficient.
At this point you want to add your beef broth in a steady stream while stirring constantly. The goal is to make our sauce smooth, not lumpy, so be sure you are always stirring. This will thicken up fairly quickly so have your milk handy to start pouring before you have ham play dough on your hands. Add the milk one cup at a time in a steady stream, stirring constantly and stir until thickened before adding the next cup. Once all of the milk is added and the mixture is thickening nicely, it is time to add your spices. Taste your gravy before you add your seasoning salt. I have a salty palette so you may not feel that the seasoning salt is necessary. Again, always taste your food as you are cooking it to make sure you are adding the proper amount of spices along the way.
Once thickened, serve over biscuits (or hashbrowns). I’m pretty sure after you have had ham gravy, you might be a convert for life.
I found the BEST biscuit recipe on the planet over at http://www.thechunkychef.com/buttermilk-biscuits-and-sausage-gravy/. They are crisp on the outside but so fluffy and moist on the inside. They are the perfect combination of salty and buttery. Check it out!