Gravy - © acookandherbooks

Gravy Front And Centre Again, For A Moment

The British love their comfort foods. But they have always (in my lifetime, anyway) supported a different hierarchy of fave warm-and-umami snacks than Canadians or Americans. I suppose that’s why they got Chicken Sammy Gravy Bowls first…

Canadian Gravy Bowl Chicken - © 2022 KFC CanadaThe controversial KFC Gravy Boat Chicken Sammy.
I said ‘Bring it!’ And they (finally) did!

As I have mentioned previously, they give good old fashioned brown gravy a place of prominence on their fave comfort food lists. I also distinctly recall thinking (and writing in this space) that ‘Gravy Bowl’ style sandwiches were a genius idea. A dish that cried out to be slurped up with all incautious haste. In spite of an inherent tendency to splash rich beefy nectar all over the place…

As I often do, I topped of my post with an urgent plea to KFC to share this unheralded delight with the rest of the world. And that’s the last I heard of it. Until now!

Not just me…

Apparently, I’m not the only Canadian food blogger to wish for the patriation of the Gravy Bowl Chicken sammy, since it premiered in the UK back in 2020. Alas! T’was COVID times, then. And the thing didn’t get the attention it should have – there or here. But now someone has noticed that selected North Americans want it.

What is it?

In short, it’s a ‘hand-breaded Chicken Breast’ on a potato bun with a slice of (Processed) Monterrey Jack Cheese and Creamy Mayo. The crowning glory, though, is the crispy hash brown patty on top, with the indent for a pool of KFC signature Gravy. The Gravy comes in a tub for pouring, dipping – and sipping, as you like.

Excessive? A little gross (in the slurping)? Messy? All those things. Yes. But distinctively British.

Do you remember the Campaign for Real Gravy, launched by Brit celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay a few years back? When he was hosting a restaurant rescue show in British TV? And he had pretty much given up on one old family establishment until he realized their Yorkshire Puddings outsold everything else on the menu? Largely because they came with the resto’s signature Beef Gravy?

The whole ting was a great idea and captured Brit food news headlines for a while. But the light, fluffy, ultra-puffed Puds never met a Brit diner who didn’t immediately fall in love with them…

Gravy got a huge boost

And Gravy got a huge boost out of the whole stunt. In a market where the natives love a ladle of gravy on any plated dinner, the all-natural recipe from the TV show became famous. Concentrated, not-too-greasy real Beef Stock was a natural, winning starting place for something special. The stuff Ramsay elevated to stardom easily assumed the international gravy crown.

Of course, the street food vendors who were already ladelling the good old-fashioned, powdered-mix stuff (often referred to as French’s in North America), felt some pressure to upgrade their product. But the cost of doing so would have been oppressive on their fringe budgets. Nevertheless, a side debate arose whether the Ramsay Gravy was any better, or even as good as, the traditional diner-and-street stuff. That was a war between tradition and expectations, and overall quality and nuance. And many still believe French’s (and its ilk) won out with the masses.

My take

I’m still of two minds. I firmly believe in making the best all-home-made, all-natural Gravy you can for special occasions. But there is also a place for good, old fashioned diner gravy, with a touch too much salt, that you could never quite peg as Beef or Chicken.

Now that really indulgent ultra-runny, -slurpable, -dippable KFC chicken sammy from the UK is coming here to Canada. Yay!

BTW: There are probably thousands of copycat recipes for ‘KFC Gravy’ online. This is one of the most popular… Try it let us know what you think!

I think, if there was ever a reason to give Gravy a pass on the nutrition front, this is it. Besides, nobody is going to eat one every day. Well, I don’t think so, anyway. The usual bad examples aside, Let’s brighten up the flat, great days of winter with a nice sloosh of good old brown gravy. On whatever we want it on. Or straight out of a mug as a warmer-upper!

~ Maggie J.