|Main ingredients||Juices of meats that run naturally during cooking, wheat flour, cornstarch|
Gravy is a sauce often made from the juices of meats that run naturally during cooking and often thickened with wheat flour or corn starch for added texture. The gravy may be further coloured 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 biscuits (North America, see biscuits and gravy), roasts, meatloaf, rice, noodles, chips (fries) and mashed potatoes.
Based on our current understanding of what a gravy is at its core (a sauce made from meat drippings combined with a thickening agent), one of the earliest recorded instances of a gravy being used is from The Forme of Cury, a cookbook from the 14th century. The term "gravy" is believed to be derived from the french word "gravé" that is found in many medieval French cookbooks. Most of the gravy we know today has its roots firmly planted in French cuisine. French cuisine saw a revival of what was called "sauce cookery" in the 17th century which is where most of the basic ideas of adding a roux to a sauce to make a gravy comes from. As the influence of this style of cooking began to grow, it was then picked up and expanded upon from various other cultures. During that time one of the most common ingredients that's still used to this day was added, "drawn butter". Gravy really began to grow in popularity in the 1800's and with the addition of cookbooks, or "cookery books" as they were often called back then, being adapted for the American market, gravy began to evolve into what many Americans have come to understand it as today.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, a Sunday roast is usually served with gravy. It is commonly eaten with beef, pork, chicken or lamb. It is also popular in different parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland to have gravy with just chips (mostly from a fish and chip shop or Chinese takeaway).
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 uses 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 Quebec, poutine gravy is thin, and is sometimes a mix of beef and chicken stock. Other places in Canada use a thicker gravy, similar to an American gravy.
In some parts of Asia, particularly India, gravy is 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 gastronomy of Menorca, it has been used since the English influence during the 17th century in typical Menorcan and Catalan dishes, as for example macarrons amb grevi (pasta).