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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Gravy: A Pictorial

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gravy: A Pictorial

Let me start off this post by stating that this gravy was one of the most time-consuming things I've ever made.  Why? Because I finally understood why Rob gets so crazy over his chili and makes sure it gets stirred, like, once every 15 minutes (and I think I'm being generous with that amount of time but it's been a while so I don't quite remember).  After putting in all the time with buying the meat and browning the meat in batches and getting oil splattered all over my wrists (and face), I just couldn't bear the thought of losing this gravy to burning.  So I hovered over it like an over-protective mother. 

I stirred. 

I scraped. 

I stirred again. 

I reminded myself that the sauce needed to be allowed to sit still and simmer so as to finish cooking the meat. 

And then I stirred some more.

But it turned out great! Here's how it went down:

First I started making my meatballs.  I figured I would ramp up the serving amounts in the actual recipe - 3 lbs of meatballs, sausage and ribs were what it originally called for - and therefore adjusted all of the ingredients accordingly.  In the case of the meatballs, the ground beef came in 5 lb bags and I figured, what the heck.  Leftover meatballs = good times. 

So there's my 5 lbs of beef in a great big pyrex pan, which was the only thing I had in my cabinets that would be big enough to hold the meat and allow room for mixing.  With the meat went the usual stuff...except for the fact that I forgot to buy more bread crumbs during our supermarket trip.  What to do? Easy.  Use crushed Town House crackers.  Which is what I did.  I wish I had taken measurements of what I used in the meatballs because Rob swears they're the best I ever made.  I generally eyeball everything, though.

Mmm, lovely balls of beef

Once the meatballs were formed, I diced up two onions.  I loathe and despise working with onions, even though I adore eating them.  These were particularly pungent little suckers, which made me leave the room several times just to take a break.  Needless to say, this took a long time.

Just a bowl full of tears, as far as I'm concerned

I also got out my trusty garlic press and pressed 9 cloves of garlic.  Mmmm, garlic...

I then took some long links of sausage and made them look like this:

Then I took out a very, very big pot and poured about half a cup of olive oil in there.

Great big pot

I *big puffy heart* olive oil

Then it was time to start browning.  First, the sausage...

 Can you just FEEL the oil sputtering and spattering everywhere?

Then the meatballs...

Then the ribs...

Once the meat was completely browned, I pulled out my beef bones to brown them as well.


I admit, I was kinda grossed out by the bones.  I understand that they bring flavor, I totally get that.  But...browning bones? How does one brown bones, exactly?

Note the blood coming out of the marrow.  It was a close call, but I managed to not puke

Oh, they're browning! Okay, I get it!

Once my bones were brown, I dumped in the onions and browned them for a few minutes, then tossed the garlic in and did the same thing.

Once the onions and garlic were browned, I added about 16 oz of tomato paste and browned it as well.  No pictures of that, only because I was too busy trying to avoid burning!

Then 6 28 oz cans of tomatoes joined the party, along with a hefty pinch of sugar and a few bay leaves.  And that was it for the sauce.

But what about all that glorious meat? Well, after an hour of letting the sauce simmer, the ribs got added.  Then after another hour, the sausage.  Another hour, then the meatballs.  And finally just simmer, simmer, simmer until "a layer of grease forms". 

Um...there was definitely a layer of grease.  I got out the old turkey baster and did my best to suck as much of the grease off as I could.  I was pretty successful and, in retrospect, wish I had thought to take a picture of what I came up with.  It was truly a sight to behold.

Do you see the grease just floating there? Ick! And yet it's kind of sexy, let's not lie to each other.

I'll be honest with you, I was afraid I wouldn't have enough room for the meatballs.  So I took out the bones and that seemed to leave enough room.  There was a lot o' meat hanging out in that pot!

The results?

Pile o' meat, after being picked at by the first round of eaters

Well, after all that work, the gravy was universally acclaimed, if I do say so.  After all the meat I started with (and there was a LOT), we managed to get another two dinners out of it and that was about it.  I really thought there would be way more left over.  Then again, I did see at least one person at the party taking three plates full.  But I'm not telling any tales.  And there IS sauce left over so I froze that for later.  I hope to make this again some time for the family, I think they'll like it.  At least I know I will!

So, success.  On to the next project!

(Check out the original recipe here)

**UPDATE: I can now also report that the sauce freezes extremely well!**

This has been linked to:

A Southern Fairytale - Mouthwatering Monday

Home Ec 101 - Fearless Friday

A Soft Place To Land - DIY Day



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks yummy! Great pics! Oh, and was that garlic press from Pampered Chef??? :-)

January 4, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

Why yes, Anonymous. Yes it was.

January 4, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Anonymous Heather Solos said...

Are you in the Northeast? This looks fabulous. Thank you for being a part of Fearless Friday. Just so you know, I'd totally have taken 3 plates full, too ;)

January 8, 2010 at 10:14 PM

Blogger Michelle Smiles said...

The bones kind of ick me out but this looks YUM!

January 12, 2010 at 2:55 PM


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