Maple Bacon-Wrapped Pork Cutlets:
3-4 pork loin cutlets (thick-cut)
6-8 slices of bacon
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tb unsalted butter
fresh ground pepper
Directions: Start a separate pot of boiling water for the egg noodles; cook as directed for al dente and set aside. Melt butter in iron skillet over medium heat. Dry pork cutlets with paper towel; season with salt and pepper. Wrap bacon around cutlets (about 2 pieces each); place in hot skillet. Turn heat down to medium-low and drizzle with half the maple syrup. Brown first side (~10 minutes). Flip cutlets; pour additional syrup over browned side and cook for an additional 10 minutes (or until done).
* If you get down with the super thick cutlets like me (dang!), you may need to prop them up on the side of the pan, or create a “snuggle fest” by stacking those chops upright in the center of the pan (until all edges are browned). See photo below, if I sound like a crazy person…and yes, I said “snuggle fest! Just look at those cute lil’ cutlets all huddle together in a pool of sweet maple fat!
As soon as those porkies are done, set aside and wrap in foil to keep warm. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of bacon fat-butter from the pan and get ready to make the gravy!
Spiced Holiday Gravy
3-4 Tb all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 Tb apple cider vinegar
2 dashes paprika
1 dash ginger
1 dash nutmeg
1 dash cardamom
1 dash clove
fresh ground pepper
Directions: Over medium-low heat, whisk flour into skillet oil to create a thick roux. Pour in milk gradually while whisking until all milk is combined and mixture is lump-free. Add more milk if gravy is too thick. Add all spices; salt and pepper generously. Simmer over medium-low until gravy thickens and is smooth. Add apple cider vinegar and pre-cooked egg noodles; simmer over low-heat for 3-4 minutes.
Side Dish Inspiration:
Sautéed Shredded Brussels Sprouts
1 lb fresh brussels sprouts
2 Tb reserved bacon fat
3 Tb balsamic vinegar
fresh ground pepper
Directions: Trim brussels sprout stems; remove any damaged leaves. Cut in half and slice thinly into shreddings. Throw into hot skillet with 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat; cook until tender (~5 minutes). Add balsamic vinegar; turn heat on high and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper!
Put it all on a big plate, unbutton your jeans, pour a glass of sparkling apple cider, and slide right into the Holidays!
Happy Holidays to all you darling people out there!
Before we dive into the wildness below, let’s open your holiday card!
Aww, you’re welcome!
I hope your days are filled with mountains of mashed potatoes, buckets of Bûche de Noël, garbage pails of gravyliciousness, and truck beds of holiday turkey-ham! I’m certain there’s more than enough people out there to fill a gravy barge who relate to me and my love for the smothering sauce – and this is why I feel so comfortable expressing some of my deepest secrets here. Wait, did you say gravy barge, Ivy? Does that even exist?!!! Why yes I did – and yes it does! And here is one to prove it!
Ok, so maybe I didn’t fool all you seasoned Photoshop gurus out there, but I bet I had some of ya for a second!
Today marks year two-in-a-row for spending my holidays away from my hometown and family, so I’ve been on quite the reminiscing roll lately. San Francisco is a marvelous place to spread your holiday cheer around, (you can smear it across the entire 7-mile city in just under an hour – which means more time to ride the gravy barge). However, nothing beats going back home to my folks in Florida, where both brown and white gravy resides at pretty much any restaurant, coffee shop, truck stop, parking lot – you name it! Ah, there’s such a carousel of fine memories to share, but since it’s Gravy Friday I think I’ll stick to the ones that just happened upon the table cloth…
When grandma’s gravy boat hit that tablecloth during the Holidays, the true fun unfolded. My mind would explode like confetti, full of exciting questions and analytical break-downs such as:
- If I pass the turkey tray over the gravy boat with my left hand, will it cast a dark enough shadow to hide my right hand while it grabs the gravy before anyone else?
- If I don’t get to that gravy boat first, what are the chances there will be any gravy skin left for me?
- If the gravy skin is gone, how long must the gravy sit untouched before the magical skin reappears?
- How much longer are we going to say grace?
- Why is there only one gravy boat for 20 people?
- Will granddaddy sling extra servings of gravy in his eyebrows again and claim he’s saving it for later?
- Look at how the candlelight shimmers off the tiny bubbles of gravy oil, like city lights on a brown velvet hill…
I wish I could say that these thoughts only existed during my childhood, but they actually followed me well into my late teens – and some still linger today (especially the gravy skin question). However, this is rather normal brainwork for a gravy enthusiast! It’s not like I’m conjuring up schematics to a gravy bomb on my napkin. I’m just pondering the daily concerns of a woman’s life in a gravy world. Just in case you will be wondering, I have many more of these ponderings to share with you in the near future. But for now…
Alas! The mental scrapbooks are going back into the closet, and it’s time unleash a special Holiday Gravy Friday Recipe for all you good boys and girls (and naughty ones too)! Now that I think of it, this recipe is very naughty…
I’d like to share this childhood favorite in honor of Gravy Friday. Gonna keep this short and sweet here.
After watching this for the first time in over two decades, I realized I must have slept on the “careful what you ask for” moral in this episode. I just remember drooling over the ending, so happy that Mr. Bad Doggiepants got a whole mess of free gravy and didn’t even have to move a pawnail to enjoy it. Even though he acts like such a horse’s ass the whole time, it still made me happy that he finally got that gravy in the end. Mmm…there’s no better way to go than death-by-gravy-funnel!
Chocolate gravy?! Well in all my born days…
If you have yet to hear of chocolate gravy, let’s take care of that right now. We’ve all slathered our pancakes with sweet maple syrup, smeared our toast with Nutella™, and peanut-buttered-and-jellied our bread, right? Well then there’s no reason why you have not chocolafied your gravy! If it sounds too weird, just try and think of it like hot chocolate pudding, or a sweet cream gravy like Béchamel sauce – all gone cuckoo for cocoa. Tasting homemade chocolate gravy may bring you one step closer to gravy utopia, “This I promise you.” (quote courtesy of ‘N Sync).
Before we dive in first, some Chocolate Gravy 101!
There are a few different theories on its origin:
- Began in the homes of the Appalachian Mountains and the Deep South about 100 years ago (around the time Hershey’s Cocoa Powder made its way into the country pantry)
- Influenced by the Spanish roots of Louisiana merging with the Tennessee Valley
- Possibly passed on from the Appalachian Melungeons as far back as the 16-17 century
One thing’s for sure though. Chocolate gravy is:
- freaking delicious over biscuits, toast, bacon, and even eggs! (I also like it poured over crumpets)
- a real special treat for Sunday morning
- a nearly forgotten southern tradition that needs your sweet lil help to survive (Viva la internet!)
Now, let’s get out your iron skillet, sauce pan, or double boiler (for the burn-prone) and make some gravy!
This is a tried-and true recipe, modified by myself with an added ‘kick’. As most recipes go, it’s open for room to experiment!
Ivy Something’s Spicy Chocolate Gravy
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (or more, depending on how chocolafied you want your gravy!)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup organic powdered sugar (granulated also works just fine)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sweet cream butter (or bacon fat)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- salt (to taste)
- a few hefty dashes of cayenne pepper
- Heat skillet or sauce pan over medium-low heat, add butter (or bacon fat) until melted.
- Sprinkle in flour slowly and whisk until smooth.
- Add chocolate and sugar, whisk until fully blended and cook for about 1-2 minutes, careful to not burn.
- Slowly add milk, whisk continuously to prevent lumps.
- Add vanilla, salt, and cayenne.
- Cook a few minutes until gravy becomes thick. Whisk in more milk for a thinner gravy.
- If your gravy ever comes out lumpy, just whirl it in the blender until smooth!
- For added excitement, add crumbled bacon! This is not a trend – bacon and chocolate gravy have a long harmonious history together!
You may also find and share this recipe at Food.com
- Pour over hot biscuits, crumpets, toast, pancakes, eggs, bacon, your face – anything you please!
- Put it in a fancy bowl and pretend you’re on the farm with Zsa Zsa Gabore!
“Chocolate gravy is the place to be!”
I dedicate this Gravy Friday to my chocolate-loving friend, Emilee Schumer. She was the inspiration (and 5-star hospitality) behind it all.
Does your family have a prized chocolate gravy recipe? I’m drooling to hear about it!