Almost every breakfast restaurant or menu that serves biscuits and chicken fried steak will have this classic gravy available. It is extremely easy to make and only takes a few ingredients. And the cool thing is you are making what Chefs call a “Mother Sauce”. This sauce is the basic beginning of several cream sauces made from the Bechamel Sauce. The Bechamel sauce is made with a roux thinned by milk and seasoned with a tiny bit of nutmeg. However, for the pepper gravy you leave out the nutmeg and replace it with salt and black pepper. So now if you ever want to make a Bechamel sauce you are set.
Now when you make your roux be sure that you don’t add too much flour. If it is too dry and looks like sand or clumps of dry mix in the pan it needs more butter. It needs to be thin enough to flow onto the pans surface, but thick enough that when you scrap the bottom it takes a second to fill in the spot you scraped. Also don’t overcook the roux. The darker it gets the darker your sauce will be. For a white sauce you want it to be light. If you were making a brown gravy, you would cook longer and allow the roux to darken. This will also change the flavor giving the roux more of a nutty bitter taste that isn’t desired in this slightly sweet white sauce. Once you have whisked in your milk and it has thickened turn off the heat or it will continue thickening into a clump. You can add more milk to thin but try not overcook and make that a necessity. As always, the salt amount is listed, but you should taste and add a little at a time as needed.
This sauce should be lightly salted with a subtle sweetness from the milk to balance out the pepper. Once you have mastered this you can then start adding additions to it like sausage or cheese for making a creamy macaroni and cheese dish. Enjoy!
- 4 Tbsp butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ½ -1 tsp black pepper
- 1/8-1/4 tsp salt
- In a deep skillet melt butter, then add the flour. Stir the flour constantly allowing it to cook for a minute. Don’t let it darken or your sauce will darken. Whisk in the milk and allow mixture to simmer until thickened. Add pepper and salt to taste. Serve as a dipping sauce or over biscuits.