Gravy
Overview
 
Gravy is a sauce
Sauce
In cooking, a sauce is liquid, creaming or semi-solid food served on or used in preparing other foods. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsus, meaning salted...

 made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. In North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 the term can refer to a wider variety of sauces and gravy is often thicker than in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. The gravy may be further coloured and flavoured with gravy salt (a simple mix of salt and caramel food colouring) or gravy browning (gravy salt dissolved in water) or ready-made cubes
Bouillon cube
A bouillon cube [ˈbuːjɒn kjuːb] or stock cube is dehydrated bouillon or stock formed into a small cube about 15 mm wide. It is made by dehydrating vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, salt and seasonings and shaping them into a small cube...

 and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts.
Encyclopedia
Gravy is a sauce
Sauce
In cooking, a sauce is liquid, creaming or semi-solid food served on or used in preparing other foods. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsus, meaning salted...

 made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. In North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 the term can refer to a wider variety of sauces and gravy is often thicker than in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. The gravy may be further coloured and flavoured with gravy salt (a simple mix of salt and caramel food colouring) or gravy browning (gravy salt dissolved in water) or ready-made cubes
Bouillon cube
A bouillon cube [ˈbuːjɒn kjuːb] or stock cube is dehydrated bouillon or stock formed into a small cube about 15 mm wide. It is made by dehydrating vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, salt and seasonings and shaping them into a small cube...

 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
Meatloaf
Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat formed into a loaf shape and baked or smoked. The loaf shape is formed by either cooking it in a loaf pan, or forming it by hand on a flat baking pan...

, rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

, and mashed potato
Mashed potato
Mashed potato is made by mashing freshly boiled potatoes with a ricer, fork, potato masher, food mill, or whipping them with a hand beater. Dehydrated and frozen mashed potatoes are available in many places...

es.

Historical origins

Gravy is thought to have originated in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 around 3000 BC. Hieroglyphs in the tomb of Djer
Djer
Djer was the second or third pharaoh of the first dynasty of Egypt, which dates from approximately 3100 BC. Some scholars, however, debate whether the first pharaoh, Menes or Narmer, and Hor-Aha might have been different rulers. If they were separate rulers, this would make Djer the third pharaoh...

, an early first dynasty pharaoh, at Umm el-Qa'ab
Umm el-Qa'ab
Umm el-Qa`āb is the necropolis of the Early Dynastic kings at Abydos, in Egypt. Its modern name means Mother of Pots, as the whole area is littered with the broken pot shards of offerings made in earlier times...

 are said to resemble Classical Greek clay vessels, from which the modern French sauce boat
Sauce boat
A sauce boat, gravy boat or saucière is a boat-shaped pitcher in which sauce or gravy is served. It often sits on a matching plate, sometimes attached to the pitcher, to catch dripping sauce....

 (or gravy boat) was ultimately developed. Paintings on the walls of the tomb depicting feasting show the diners (presumably members of the royal court) drinking a liquid, however the context does not lend itself to wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 or blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

.

Thickened gravy

Gravies are often thickened with a starch, starting with a roux
Roux
Roux is a cooked mixture of wheat flour and fat, traditionally butter. It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: sauce béchamel, sauce velouté and sauce espagnole. Clarified butter, vegetable oils, or lard are commonly used fats. It is used as a...

 made of wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 flour
Flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

, cornstarch/cornflour
Cornstarch
Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch of the corn grain obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel.-History:...

, or arrowroot
Arrowroot
Arrowroot, or obedience plant , Bermuda arrowroot, araru, ararao, is a large perennial herb found in rainforest habitats...

. Spare Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire Pudding is a dish that originated in Yorkshire, England. It is made from batter and usually served with roast meat and gravy.-History:...

 batter may be used also. The liquids from cooked meat, the liquids from dissolved bouillon cubes/stock cubes
Bouillon cube
A bouillon cube [ˈbuːjɒn kjuːb] or stock cube is dehydrated bouillon or stock formed into a small cube about 15 mm wide. It is made by dehydrating vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, salt and seasonings and shaping them into a small cube...

, or stock
Stock (food)
Stock is a flavoured water preparation. It forms the basis of many dishes, particularly soups and sauces.- Preparation :Stock is made by simmering various ingredients in water, including some or all of the following...

 are added gradually to the mixture, while continually stirring to ensure 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.

Types of gravy

  • Chocolate gravy
    Chocolate gravy
    Chocolate gravy is a variety of gravy made with fat, flour, cocoa powder and sometimes a small amount of sugar. This variety is more common in cuisine of the Southern United States and is most often served as a Sunday morning dish with fresh biscuits in the Ozark and Appalachian Mountain regions....

    is a variety of gravy made with fat, flour, cocoa powder and sometimes a small amount of sugar.
  • Cream gravy is made with one to one and a half cups of milk added to the roux. It is seasoned with salt and pepper. It is common to the American South and is frequently served with chicken fried steak
    Chicken fried steak
    Chicken fried steak is a dish consisting of a piece of steak coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. It is associated with Texas cuisine...

    .
  • Egg gravy is a breakfast gravy that is served over biscuits. Meat drippings (usually from bacon
    Bacon
    Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon . Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating...

    ) and flour are used to make a thick roux. The roux is salted and peppered to taste, Water and milk (even parts) are added, and the liquid is brought back up to a boil. A well-beaten egg
    Egg (food)
    Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

     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.
  • Giblet gravy has the giblets
    Giblets
    Giblets is a culinary term for the edible offal of a fowl, typically including the heart, gizzard, liver, and other visceral organs.A whole bird from a butcher is often packaged with 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
    Sweating (cooking)
    Sweating in cooking is the gentle heating of coarsely cut vegetables in a little oil or butter, with frequent stirring and turning to ensure that any emitted liquid will evaporate. Sweating usually results in tender, sometimes translucent, pieces. Sweating is often a preliminary to further cooking...

    , chopped onion
    Onion
    The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

    s mixed with stock
    Stock (food)
    Stock is a flavoured water preparation. It forms the basis of many dishes, particularly soups and sauces.- Preparation :Stock is made by simmering various ingredients in water, including some or all of the following...

     and wine
    Wine
    Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

    . Commonly served with bangers and mash
    Bangers and mash
    Bangers and mash, also known as sausages and mash, is a traditional English dish made of mashed potatoes and sausages, the latter of which may be one of a variety of flavoured sausage made of pork or beef or a Cumberland sausage....

    , eggs, chops
    Meat chop
    A meat chop is a cut of meat cut perpendicularly to the spine, and usually containing a rib or riblet part of a vertebra and served as an individual portion. The most common kinds of meat chops are pork and lamb. A thin boneless chop, or one with only the rib bone, may be called a cutlet, though...

    , or other grilled or fried meat which by way of the cooking method would not produce their own gravy.
  • Red-eye gravy
    Red-eye gravy
    Red-eye gravy is a thin sauce often seen in the cuisine of the Southern United States and associated with the country ham of that region. Other names for this sauce include poor man's gravy, bird-eye gravy, bottom sop and red ham gravy. The gravy is made from the drippings of pan-fried country ham,...

    is a gravy made from the drippings of ham fried in a skillet/frying pan. The pan is deglazed
    Deglazing (cooking)
    Deglazing is a cooking technique for removing and dissolving caramelized bits of food from a pan to make a pan sauce.When a piece of meat is roasted, pan fried or prepared in a pan with another form of dry heat, a deposit of caramelized sugars, carbohydrates, and/or proteins forms on the bottom of...

     with coffee. This gravy is a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine and is usually served over ham, grits
    Grits
    Grits are a food of American Indian origin common in the Southern United States and mainly eaten at breakfast. They consist of coarsely ground corn, or sometimes alkali-treated corn . They are also sometimes called sofkee or sofkey from the Muskogee language word...

     or biscuits.
  • Spiced gravy This is a gravy that originated in ancient India. Used in mild curries, it was a popular ingredient in bringing out flavor in meats. On its own, however, it has an acquired taste as its musty fragrance puts people off. Recipes for using it can be found in most cookbooks. The main ingredients in spiced gravy are cloves, rosemary
    Rosemary
    Rosemary, , is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs, and is one of two species in the genus Rosmarinus...

    , mustard seeds, and coconut milk
    Coconut milk
    Coconut milk is the water that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. The colour and rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high oil content. In many parts of the world, the term coconut milk is also used to refer to coconut water, the naturally occurring liquid found inside the hollow...

    . Animal fat can be added to thicken the gravy.
  • Tomato gravy is not gravy at all, but a kind of tomato sauce, made from canned or fresh tomatoes, flour, and usually a small amount of fat. This is generally considered 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 margarine
    Margarine
    Margarine , as a generic term, can indicate any of a wide range of butter substitutes, typically composed of vegetable oils. In many parts of the world, the market share of margarine and spreads has overtaken that of butter...

    . One recipe uses vegetarian bouillon cube
    Bouillon cube
    A bouillon cube [ˈbuːjɒn kjuːb] or stock cube is dehydrated bouillon or stock formed into a small cube about 15 mm wide. It is made by dehydrating vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, salt and seasonings and shaping them into a small cube...

    s with cornstarch
    Cornstarch
    Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch of the corn grain obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel.-History:...

     (corn flour) as a thickener (cowboy roux
    Roux
    Roux is a cooked mixture of wheat flour and fat, traditionally butter. It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: sauce béchamel, sauce velouté and sauce espagnole. Clarified butter, vegetable oils, or lard are commonly used fats. It is used as a...

    ), 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. Brown vegetarian gravy can also be made with savory yeast extract
    Yeast extract
    Yeast extract is the common name for various forms of processed yeast products made by extracting the cell contents ; they are used as food additives or flavourings, or as nutrients for bacterial culture media. They are often used to create savory flavors and umami taste sensations. Monosodium...

     like Marmite
    Marmite
    Marmite is the name given to two similar food spreads: the original British version, first produced in the United Kingdom and later South Africa, and a version produced in New Zealand...

     or Vegemite
    Vegemite
    Vegemite is a dark brown Australian food paste made from yeast extract. It is a spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits, and filling for pastries...

    . There are also commercially produced instant gravy granules which are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
  • White gravy (sawmill gravy in Southern U.S. cuisine) is the gravy typically used in biscuits and gravy
    Biscuits and gravy
    Biscuits and gravy is a popular breakfast dish in the United States, especially in the South.It consists of soft dough biscuits covered in thick "country" or "white" gravy, made from the drippings of cooked pork sausage, white flour, milk, and often bits of sausage, bacon, ground beef, or other...

     and chicken fried steak
    Chicken fried steak
    Chicken fried steak is a dish consisting of a piece of steak coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. It is associated with Texas cuisine...

    . It is essentially a Béchamel sauce
    Béchamel sauce
    Béchamel sauce , also known as white sauce, is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine and is used in many recipes of Italian cuisine, for example lasagne. It is used as the base for other sauces . It is traditionally made by whisking scalded milk gradually into a white roux...

    , 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 sometimes added. Besides white and sawmill gravy, common names include country gravy, milk gravy, and sausage gravy.

Cuisines

Gravy is commonly eaten with pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

, chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

, lamb, turkey
Domesticated turkey
The domesticated turkey is a large poultry bird. The modern domesticated form descends from the wild turkey , one of the two species of turkey ; in the past the ocellated turkey was also domesticated.The turkey is raised throughout temperate parts of the world and is a popular form of poultry,...

, beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

, meatloaf
Meatloaf
Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat formed into a loaf shape and baked or smoked. The loaf shape is formed by either cooking it in a loaf pan, or forming it by hand on a flat baking pan...

, American style biscuits, Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire Pudding is a dish that originated in Yorkshire, England. It is made from batter and usually served with roast meat and gravy.-History:...

, stuffing
Stuffing
In cooking, stuffing or filling is an edible substance or mixture, often a starch, used to fill a cavity in another food item...

 and sandwiches. One Southern American variation is sausage gravy eaten with American biscuits. In the UK, a Sunday roast is usually served with gravy. It is also popular in different parts of the UK, to have gravy with just chips (mostly from a fish'n'chip shop), a dish common with Australia and Canada. Gravy is an integral part of the Canadian dish poutine
Poutine
Poutine is a Canadian dish of French fries and fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy or sauce. Sometimes additional ingredients are added.Poutine is a fast food dish that originated in Quebec and can now be found across Canada...

. A Southern U.S. dish that has white gravy is chicken fried steak
Chicken fried steak
Chicken fried steak is a dish consisting of a piece of steak coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. It is associated with Texas cuisine...

.

In many parts of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, particularly India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Malaysia, and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, the word "gravy" is used to refer to any thickened liquid part of a dish. For example, the liquid part of a thick curry
Curry
Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

 may be referred to as gravy.

In British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 cuisine, as well as in the cuisines of Commonwealth countries like Australia and New Zealand, the word gravy only refers to the meat based sauce (and vegetarian/vegan alternatives) 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
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

 gravy, which is eaten with sausages, fried eggs, Yorkshire pudding and roast meat.

In the Mediterranean, Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 cuisine is dominated with gravy and bread-based dishes. Tajine
Tajine
A tajine, or tagine , is a dish from North Africa, that is named after the special earthenware pot in which it is cooked. A similar dish, known as tavvas, is found in the cuisine of Cyprus. The traditional tajine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed...

 and most Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) dishes are derivatives of oil, meat and vegetable gravies. The dish is usually served with a loaf of bread. The bread is then dipped into the gravy and then used to gather or scoop the meat and vegetables between the index, middle finger and thumb, and consumed.

In gastronomy of Minorca
Minorca
Min Orca or Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. It takes its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca....

, it is used since the British colonisation during the 17th century in typical Minorquian and Catalan dishes, as for example macarrons amb grevi (pasta).

In the case of meat served with potatoes, vegetables, and gravy, in North America (except Quebec), the gravy is often poured onto the potatoes, whereas in Quebec or France the gravy is generally poured onto the meat.

Health concerns

Gravy made from well-done beef has been shown to contain heterocyclic amines, which are potentially carcinogenic in humans.

Cultural use

Gravy, and its perceived richness, have contributed to its use in several cultural contexts:
  • Used as a descriptive noun, and synonymous to the word copasetic, gravy indicates that all is well. "Don't worry, we're gravy."
  • The idiom "gravy train", used to refer to any lucrative endeavor.
  • Also used as slang for extra benefits in the idiom "everything else is gravy."

See also

  • Sauce boat
    Sauce boat
    A sauce boat, gravy boat or saucière is a boat-shaped pitcher in which sauce or gravy is served. It often sits on a matching plate, sometimes attached to the pitcher, to catch dripping sauce....

    , also referred to as a Gravy Boat
  • Cuisine of the Southern United States
    Cuisine of the Southern United States
    The cuisine of the Southern United States is defined as the historical regional culinary form of states generally south of the Mason Dixon Line dividing Pennsylvania from Maryland and Delaware as well as along the Ohio River, and extending west to Southern Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.The most...

  • Curry
    Curry
    Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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