Woke up this morning with an appetite after an hour of snowshoeing in the Gatineaus last evening. While I took the dog out for her morning constitutional, Rob fried up last weeks left over ham, made flaky biscuits (pillsbury :P. He’s not that good), eggs and red eye gravy.
I first encountered red eye gravy at Puckett’s in Nashville, Tennessee, where I declared I could drink a mug of this deliciousness. There is not a lot of info on where this simple, Southern classic originated but I can only think it was born of necessity from scraps on hand. I imagine a scenario where a cowboy is at morning camp on his range far from home. He has fried up some ham and doesn’t want to waste the leavings. He needs some liquid to scrape up the caramelized porky bits and all he has is the dregs in his coffee cup. He tosses that in and creates the holy trinity of of Southern cooking. Sweet, Salty and Fat!
This mornings gravy is a bit sweet as our ham leavings include the drippings from our New Year’s Day ham. These were full of the glaze, which was prepared with bourbon laced maple syrup, so there is no way this can go wrong.
As with any very traditional dish, there are hundreds of variations in the recipes for making red eye gravy, but they all have a couple things in common. With our version, we were lucky to have delicious drippings from baking the ham earlier in the week. Without them, we would have made it this way.
Ham with Red-eye gravy
Melt I tbsp. butter in a pan and add ham. When ham is cooked, remove it to plate.
Add 1/2 cup black coffee to ham drippings, deglazing any brown bits on the bottom of the pan
Add 1/2 cup water
Add 1 tsp brown sugar if desired
Bring to boil. Serve on ham, or for dipping.