Southern Thanksgiving gravy recipe made easy, plus tips to keep it smooth

KELLY MCCARTHY
·4 min read

It's almost Thanksgiving, and "Good Morning America" has enlisted the help of culinary pros to hack your holiday!

Glenn Rolnick, director of culinary operations at Virgil’s Real BBQ in Times Square and Carmine’s, joined "Good Morning America" Tuesday to share recipes and tips for perfecting a southern Thanksgiving staple: gravy.

"Gravy is the finishing touch of Thanksgiving dinner -- it basically ties everything together," he said.

He also shared a special spin on chicken fried steak that uses three special ingredients: cornflakes, potato chips and crackers.

Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy

PHOTO: A chicken fried steak with country gravy platter from Virgil's Real BBQ in New York City. (Virgil's Real BBQ )
PHOTO: A chicken fried steak with country gravy platter from Virgil's Real BBQ in New York City. (Virgil's Real BBQ )

Virgil's take on this Southern diner classic adds special flavors in the breading, plus a dash of sage in the gravy to really bring it to life.

Serves 6

Country Gravy Ingredients 1 tablespoon canola oil ¾ pound bulk breakfast sausage 4 tablespoons unsalted butter ½ cup finely diced yellow onion ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage ¾ teaspoon dried sage ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup heavy cream 2 cups chicken stock

Chicken Fried Steak Ingredients

1 (36-ounce) beef eye of round

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

3 cups lightly crushed plain potato chips

3 cups lightly crushed saltine crackers

3 cups corn flakes

1 cup Universal Flour

4 extra-large eggs, beaten

3–4 cups canola oil

PHOTO: Chicken fried steak with country gravy from Virgil's Real BBQ in New York City. (Virgil's Real BBQ)
PHOTO: Chicken fried steak with country gravy from Virgil's Real BBQ in New York City. (Virgil's Real BBQ)

Directions

1. Make the gravy in a large saucepot with a heavy bottom. Combine the oil and sausage over medium heat and lightly brown the sausage. Break it up into quarter-sized pieces. Add the butter and onions and continue to cook until the onions are translucent.

2. Add the sages, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to form a roux. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the cream and stir until thickened. Add the chicken stock and continue to lightly simmer for another 3 minutes, or until the mix has thickened into a gravy.

3. Slice the trimmed beef eye of round into six 6-ounce portions.

4. Cover a large cutting board with plastic wrap and lay out two of the steaks, 3 to 4 inches apart. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top and gently pound the steaks with a meat mallet until they are about ⅜ inch thick. Uncover the steaks, dust with some of the salt and pepper, and set aside. Repeat until all the steaks have been flattened.

5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the potato chips, crackers, and cornflakes. (Be sure that the chips and crackers are crumbled to the size of the corn flakes to ensure uniform breading.)

6. Set up a breading station with the pounded-out beef steaks, a pan with the Universal Flour, a bowl with the eggs, and the bowl filled with the cornflake breading mix.

7. To bread the steaks, dip each steak into the flour and dust off any excess. Then dip it into the eggs, and press the steaks into the breading mix. Repeat with each steak, and stack the breaded steaks on a plate, separated with sheets of parchment paper.

8. Fill a large and deep sauté pan, or an electric skillet, one-third full of the oil. Heat the oil to 350 degrees.

9. Fry the steaks, one at a time, for 1½ to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Place the fried steaks on a sheet pan covered with 3 to 4 layers of paper towels. Don’t stack the steaks.

10. Serve the steaks warm, smothered in the gravy, with buttermilk biscuits on the side.

Top Gravy Making Tips

-- Always start with fresh ingredients.

-- Use a thick gauge saucepot so it does not burn.

-- Make a roux -- half butter (or oil) and half all-purpose flour. It's very important to cook the roux to the color of the sauce you are making. Mix continuously.

-- Use a whisk and whip clockwise to break up lumps of flour.

-- Make sure to simmer the gravy for at least 10 minutes to cook out the flour taste.

-- If there are any issues with the sauce, put it through a strainer at the end.

-- Reduce the heat and mix a little cold water and cornstarch to make a paste. Add it slowly and bring the gravy back up to a boil to almost instantly thicken it.

Southern Thanksgiving gravy recipe made easy, plus tips to keep it smooth originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com