Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Love Affair with Pork Sausage

As crazy as this sounds to my own ears, there was a time in my life when I was not aware of the existence of pork sausage. My father had a corporate career that moved us all over the country, starting in California, and eventually landing us in Rhode Island where my brother Derek and I grew up. We had wonderful food there, but little did I know that I had yet to meet one of my favorite food groups - pork sausage!

It wasn't until we moved to Oklahoma in 1986 that I made the aquaintance of my new friend. Derek and I went out for breakfast one morning and biscuits & gravy were on the menu. Hmmm....that sounded interesting. I did know what cream gravy was, and I knew I liked that! Well, a love affair was born that morning and I've never looked back. I find a way to slip that luscious meat into just about any type of dish; cheese dip, hashbrown casserole, chili, enchiladas, muffins, spaghetti sauce, stuffed mushrooms, squash casserole...I could go on & on!

I have also introduced many friends to my favorite food vice. My best friend in Elementary school, Marisa, had recently moved down to the South from Rhode Island. Needless to say I was ecstatic! I had Marisa, her husband Tom and their kids over for dinner and served stuffed mushrooms with pork sausage as an appetizer. Well of course they were hooked! The funny part was trying to explain to Marisa what the package of sausage looked like. I kept telling her it looked like a round tube - I think it took a couple of trips to the store for her to finally find it! Little did she know that all she had to do was ask any person in that grocery store and they would have taken her right to it. This is the South after all!

The following recipe is one of my absolute favorites. After you serve this, just stop for a moment and listen to everyone at the table. I promise, there will be lots of mmmms. By the way, Marisa likes this one too!

Biscuits & Gravy

3/4 lb. ground pork sausage
1/4 Cup butter
1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 Cup half & half
1 1/2 Cup milk (I use skim, but any kind works)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp Italian Seasoning

Biscuits (no reason to make these from scratch. Buy Pillsbury frozen biscuits; buttermilk is my favorite)
  • Bake the biscuits while you're making the gravy
  • Brown the sausage, reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings in the pan. Drain sausage on paper towels & set aside.
  • Add butter to drippings & melt on low
  • Add flour & whisk until smooth. Cook 1 minute
  • Gradually add half & half and milk
  • Stir constantly until thick & bubbly
  • Stir in sausage & spices
  • Split biscuits open & pour gravy over the top

I hope you love it!!