Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy

When the rest of the world has been out splashing in the pool and enjoying the summer weather, I have been laying on the couch watching hours of TV. If you know me at all, this is so NOT my personality! I am still recovering from my first trimester of pregnancy and definitely craving comfort food and lots of rest.

One of my favorite shows is Mind of a Chef on PBS. Season 2 hosts Chef Sean Brock from Tennessee and follows him as he travels the south showcasing the incredible history and rich traditions of southern cuisine.

I'm so fascinated by shows like Mind of a Chef because I love learning and growing in my understanding of culinary techniques and also the history of certain dishes. In a couple episodes, Chef Brock mentioned and cooked a very traditional southern breakfast of country ham and red eye gravy. I was so inspired by his attention to detail and respect for his food that I had to try it for myself!

The story goes that a very hungry southern general wanted a gravy as red as his eyes. The oil separates from the coffee enough to look like a red eye, hence the funny name.

The gravy is typically made with country ham, but can also be made with bacon, sausage or sometimes roast beef. Here I've used a turkey bacon I found on sale! The gravy is incredibly simple, using the pan drippings from the meat, and mixing in a little coffee. Because I like to cut the acidity of the coffee just a bit, I threw in some brown sugar, but you don't have to. I also served mine up with an egg and some fluffy, buttery sourdough biscuits to help sop up that delicious gravy.

This makes the perfect breakfast! Find the full recipe at My Cooking Spot!