Gravy is a sauce often made from the juices of meats that run naturally during cooking and thickened with wheat flour or cornstarch for added texture. In the United States, the term can refer to a wider variety of sauces. The gravy may be further colored and flavored with gravy salt (a simple mix of salt and caramel food colouring) or gravy browning (gravy salt dissolved in water) or ready-made cubes and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts. Canned and instant gravies are also available. Gravy is commonly served with roasts, meatloaf, rice, and mashed potatoes.
In Great Britain and Ireland, a Sunday roast is usually served with gravy. It is commonly eaten with pork, chicken, lamb, or beef. It is also popular in different parts of Great Britain and Ireland (predominantly Northern England and in most of Ulster (chiefly Northern Ireland and County Donegal)) to have gravy with just chips (mostly from a fish and chip shop).
In British and Irish cuisine, as well as in the cuisines of Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand, and some areas in Canada, the word gravy refers only to the meat based sauce derived from meat juices, stock cubes or gravy granules. Use of the word "gravy" does not include other thickened sauces. One of the most popular forms is onion gravy, which is eaten with sausages, Yorkshire pudding and roast meat.
Throughout the United States, gravy is commonly eaten with Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. One Southern United States variation is sausage gravy eaten with American biscuits. Another Southern US dish that has white gravy is chicken fried steak. Rice and gravy is a staple of Cajun and Creole cuisine in the southern US state of Louisiana.
Gravy is an integral part of the Canadian dish poutine.
In many parts of Asia, particularly India, Malaysia, and Singapore, the word "gravy" is used to refer to any thickened liquid part of a dish. For example, the liquid part of a thick curry may be referred to as gravy.
In the Mediterranean, Maghreb cuisine is dominated with gravy and bread-based dishes. Tajine and most Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) dishes are derivatives of oil, meat and vegetable gravies. The dish is usually served with a loaf of bread. The bread is then dipped into the gravy and then used to gather or scoop the meat and vegetables between the index, middle finger and thumb, and consumed.
In Italian-American communities, particularly on the East Coast and around the Chicago area, the term "gravy", "tomato gravy", or "Sunday gravy" is used, but this refers to a tomato sauce rather than meat drippings mixed with a thickener. Used in this context, "gravy" is an erroneous English translation from the Italian sugo, which means sauce, as in sugo per pastasciutta. Whether certain sauces are referred to as "gravy" or "sauce" in Italian-American cuisine continues to be a source of debate and varies according to different family and community traditions.
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