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One man's view of the difference between gravy and sauce with a recipe for tomato mushroom gravy.

Updated on July 31, 2013

Gravy is redneck for sauce

One man's sauce is another man's gravy

Would a rose smell different if called by another name? Would sauce Bordelaise be any less succulent if I were to call it beef gravy? My friends think its funny how I can relate cooking from the lowliest table to the loftiest restaurant. In the end it's all just food and what makes it fancy is usually just a lot of mumbo jumbo. Fancy techniques and white table cloths can not make bad food taste good. Gravy is just one of many things you can find on the menu at the local diner or the local 5 star restaurant. They just call it by different names. At the diner it is gravy. At the trendy five star restaurant they call it sauce. Or sauce bordelaise or sauce a la reine or some other fancy word that basically means gravy.

What is gravy?

Gravy is the liquified essence of meat, usually in the form of drippings and renderings, that are then turned into a delicious sauce. The drippings are mixed with flour and stock, milk or water then brought to a simmer to thicken. Making gravy is an age old tradition, the gravy maker at our Thanksgiving holds high honors. It is usually my Aunt Sharon, Uncle Robert or myself. Often all three of us collaborate to make the succulent liquid with which we cover our roast turkey.

Sauce. . .

Sauce is just a fancy version of gravy. Gravy is sauce but sauce is not necessarily gravy. Sauce is a part of Esscoffier's brigade system of cooking and is a culinary science in some kitchens. Sauces are usually finer than gravy, primarily in appearance, and can be made from food sources other than meat. Gravies often have tasty bits of meat and may have a speckeled appearance from pepper or herbs. Sauces are usually strained, with a smooth texture that can be enhanced by butter, or bone marrow...mmmmmm.


Cook Time

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 40 min
  • Yields: 6-8 servings

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How to make Bacon-Mushroom Gravy

  • 2 strips of bacon, cut into small dice
  • 2 tbls vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, various, med dice
  • 1/4 cup of yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh tomato with juice
  • 1/4 cup of wine
  • 2 cups of beef broth or stock
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz light brown roux
  1. In a 2 quart saucepan heat the oil over medium heat and cook the diced bacon until it is crispy.
  2. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic and sauté until the mushrooms have browned and the onions begin to cook through.
  3. Add the tomato and raise the heat slightly. Bring the tomato to a simmer cook until the tomato juice begins to dry up.
  4. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer the wine until it is reduced by about half.
  5. Add the broth, the thyme, bay leaf and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  6. While simmering add the roux and stir. Simmer the gravy until the roux thickens.
  7. Taste for seasoning and serve with meatloaf, chopped steak, london broil or your favorite cut of beef!


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    • Christine Miranda profile image

      Christine Miranda 5 years ago from My office.

      My husband was born in Europe and what he refers to as gravy is what we Americans would call sauce. We have actually had this discussion. Lol Since I was born and raised in the North I can tell you that there is nothing 'redneck' about gravy. Thick gravy is an American thing.

      "Gravy is the liquified essence of meat" I have to disagree here. :) Drippings and renderings are the liquified essence of meat. From them you can make gravy.

      I admit I had to google 'gravy' after reading this.

      Gravy is a sauce, made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking.

      Love the recipe! Bacon ANYTHING is fantastic. Voted up & more.