Good Gravy! And Other Stuff, Too

I've said in previous posts that I don't feel comfortable not having a dutch oven ready to go for deep-frying at a moment's notice. This is funny to me because I rarely fry anything. I'll panko crust something to death, but I won't fry. I'll cover and smother it in gravy, dressing, or other sauce, but I won't fry. Pan and shallow-frying are not above me but it's not something I do on a regular basis. How many fried items can you count that I've posted about in the past six months?? One, maybe two?

Well, today I felt the need to fill up a pan with oil and go to town.

I defrosted some pork tenderloin, shucked corn and shelled butter beans from a few weeks ago, opened up a bag of Blue Ribbon long-grain rice and made a quick dinner.

And the tenderloin will be my breakfast tomorrow, too. I'll cook up some grits, fry or scramble up an egg, add a half-slice of muenster cheese, salt and pepper. And if I feel like it...some biscuits. If not, then a piece of whole wheat toast will do. Oh, and the gravy will be spooned on top of everything. Yes, sir. That'll do ju-ust fine.

Pan-fried pork tenderloin, mustard sage gravy, mixed vegetable medley, steamed white rice

Pan Fried Pork Chops

6 boneless pork chops

1/2 Tbsp Freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Hot sauce (recommended: Texas Pete's or Frank's)
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Canola or safflower oil

Sprinkle the chops lightly with salt and pepper. Shake hot sauce on each chop. Season flour with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Dredge in the flour, shaking off excess. In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil to a depth of 1/8 inch over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers without smoking, it's ready. Alternatively, sprinkle a bit of flour in the pan. If it sizzles, it's ready. Put the chops in the pan, as many as will fit without crowding, and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes each side. Drain on cooling rack, paper towels, or brown paper bags. To keep chops warm, place in a preheated 250 degrees F oven.

You're supposed to use the leftover oil in the pan to start the gravy, but I saved this oil (after straining it through a coffee filter to get out all of the black bits and crust) to use another time.

Mustard Sage Gravy

1/4 cup canola oil

1 onion, fine dice or minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken stock/broth or water

1 Tbsp dijon mustard or 1/2 Tbsp dried mustard

2 Tbsp rubbed sage

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil on medium-high heat, just until hot. Add onions and cook until just past translucent. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the oil, stirring the bottom with a high-heat spatula or wooden spoon to prevent lumps. Stir for a few minutes as the flour cooks, and browns. Adjust heat, if necessary. If the flour burns, you will have to start all over. Add chicken stock, mustard, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in all ingredients and cook for a few minutes. Scrape the pan again, to lift the bits (called FOND) that might be stuck to the bottom. Bring to a simmer and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Gravy is basically a roux (ROO) made of 50% fat and 50% flour cooked with a liquid and seasonings until the flour reaches its maximum thickening capacity. The fat of the roux can be oil, butter, lard, etc. The longer flour cooks, the less thickening power it has. As soon as the flour becomes the nice golden or marroon color of your choice, that is the time to add the liquid. As far as liquids are concerned, the more flavor the better, so I always use stock. If I'm at another locale ( i.e. not at home), water will do.

Boy! I love my life and all the food in it.

Yeah, that's me and Nicole. They caught me with that stupid grin on my face, again.

Clearly, Nicole is not amused.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. Nik and Nicole! You are clearly the cuter one, though we gots to get some meat on them bones. :D
    Gravy. Lots of gravy.

  2. CC: LOL I feel the same way! And maybe a biscuit thrown in there for good measure.

  3. Nikki,

    I attended your class at BestHealth today, "Made to Marinade" and it was fabulous! You have such great ideas and you explained everything so well. Thanks for the tip about the Farmer's Market.
    I noticed you have a class at BestHealth on July 9 "Summer Salads" that I would recommend to others.

  4. OMG - good at you - that mustard sage gravy sounds good too. You know, sage is really an under rated herb. I love it in butter sauces, and it pairs well with virtually every type of poultry imaginable to man. Thos beans look good too!!!

  5. oh man that is some good looking pork & a heck of a breakfast you've got planned!

  6. Sorry it took me so long to comment back - I am still getting used to blogging! LOL

    I am totally going to enter your blogging event. I am ready to get creative =]

  7. Sage is underused? It's one of the only herbs I grow. Though I *totally* get "furry." Brilliant description. :D
    You can un-furry it with a quick fry in hot butter. (Really quick.)
    My mission is to bring back tarragon, but... I can't grow it.

  8. Im not a big fryer also, but I love porc chops.

  9. Oh BABY! Now we're talkin'. This sounds great! My kind of food.

  10. You crack me up! I agree, this calls for biscuits.

  11. That gravy looks delicious. I adore gravy (and pork).

    While it's nice to have Le Cruset cast iron cookware, I find that my inexpensive,generic cast-iron pan deep fries well enough. You should just pick one up and get to frying.

  12. Lisa: Thank you for coming to the class. I honestly enjoy every moment at Best Health and I hope it shows. Maybe I'll see you at the Market next weekend! Maybe you can come by and get a sample or two of a few salads, too!

    Darius: I hope you had a great time at the festival. I haven't been by your blog to see what's up, yet. My 1st memory of sage was in a butter sauce. I didn't like it because it was "furry". You're right, it is underused. Maybe you and I can bring it back in full force. :)

  13. Kat: Oh, and it was so good! But I won't be doing this again for breakfast any time soon. It was TOO heavy for 8:00 in the morning. I'm a cereal and soy milk kind of girl

    Katie: It's OK, take your time. I feel like I'm still getting used to blogging, too. I cannot WAIT to see what frozen confection you come up with!

    CC: Sage isn't part of the herb du jour club, I think. I haven't seen it be trendy on plates as of late. I WISH I could grow something other than parsley or oregano. But tarragon? Don't get me started! I LOVE it!!! [insert annoying high-pitched squeal here]. I don't use it as much as I'd like because certain diners in my house don't like it. Boo... :(

    Courtney: The 1st main meal dish I ever cooked by myself was pork chops. I think I was 13. But I remember smothering those.

    Emiline: I love that you're a girl who knows what good eats are!

    Heather: You know how I love my bread!

    Rachel: Oh, the peer pressure! You know that I'm susceptible to peer pressure, right? But seriously, I shouldn't fry for another 3 months. I've done the doughnuts, these chops, and some sweet potato chips early last week. Did you see the crispy dill pickles from last month? No ma'am, I've got to lay down my spider and lay low for a while.

  14. Yummy! I pan fry everything - never use a deep fryer and I don't own a Dutch oven, yet...much to my dismay!


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