I have awakened in the middle of the night, craving sausage gravy. Fortunately, there is an all-night diner close to where I live. Sawmill gravy, or sausage gravy, originated in the logging camps and sawmills of 1800 Appalachia. It’s still very much a southern dish to this day. This rich, creamy gravy is great over biscuits, and you can make it for breakfast, dinner and even brunch. You can make this the old fashion way, but we’re going to speed the process up with an Instant Pot. It will take us one quarter of the time it would take using standard methods.
Sausage gravy is pretty much made the same way everywhere. It’s not one of those southern dishes that’s fought over, like cornbread or barbecue. You really don’t need to add a lot extra stuff. While there aren’t a lot of ingredient in this, it means they need to be of high quality. Obviously the most important component is the sausage. You can use any type of sausage you like, be it mild, hot or maple. You could even use Italian sausage. While tube sausage is fine, but see if you can get fresh sausage. A lot of recipes suggest putting the gravy over canned biscuits. I implore you not to do this. Make your own biscuits, or serve the gravy on something else. I offer a few suggestions below.
Instant Pot Sawmill Gravy
To begin this recipe you need to brown the sausage using the saute setting on the pot. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the pot before adding the sausage. This will keep the sausage from sticking to the bottom of the pot. It should take about five to seven minutes to cook the sausage. When the sausage is browned, don’t remove it from the pot. Don’t drain it either, as the fat is what will make our gravy. Next, add everything else except the dairy and flour. You’re going to need a fair dose of salt to bring out the flavors. My secret ingredient in this gravy is the rosemary. Be careful though; you don’t need much. You just want the slightest flavor boost. After you turn off the pot, let the Sawmill Gravy sit in the pot for a bit, allowing it to further thicken.
Man, there are a lot of ways to serve this stuff. I never realized. It’s usually served over biscuits, which is the traditional southern service. You can serve it over fried potatoes, waffles, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and cornbread. It would be great on sliced tomatoes and grit cakes. How about this: Serve it over hash browns with a fried egg on top. Now that’s what I call good eatin’.
How Do I Store and Reheat Sawmill Gravy?
You can make this a day ahead. Allow it to cool, and store it in an airtight container. To re-heat it, add two to three tablespoons of milk or stock per serving, and heat it over medium low heat until it is heated through. This will freeze for up to three months, but if you plan to do this, you need to leave out the dairy. Cook the sausage, and drain it. Mix the sausage with the flour, and then freeze it. When you are ready, add the dairy and cook until thickened.
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 Pound Ground Pork Sausage
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary, Crushed
- 1/2 Cup Half and Half
- 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- Set the Instant Pot to saute.
- Add the butter, and when it is melted add the sausage. Brown the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, as you go. When the sausage is browned, hit the cancel button on the pot. Don't drain the fat from the sausage.
- Add the chicken stock, and scrap any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the salt, pepper and rosemary.
- Put the lid on the pot, and lock it into place. Set the valve to sealing. Set the pressure to cook for three minutes.
- While the sausage is cooking, whisk together the flour and half and half in a medium bowl.
- When the timer goes off, quick release the pressure (be careful).
- When the pin in the lid has dropped, remove the lid, and press the cancel button. Set the pot to saute again. Slowly stir in the flour/dairy mixture. Stir until the gravy has thickened. If it becomes too thick, add some more chicken stock.
- Turn off the pot, and allow the gravy to further thicken and cool for three minutes. Serve.