Eat & DrinkFeaturesThe Dish


By Debbie AndersonSeptember 29, 2022No Comments

Sunday Gravy

By Meda Kessler
Photos by Meda Kessler

The Bakeshop in Boyd does indeed sell scratch-made baked goods at its Saturday-only pop-ups: pans of cinnamon rolls, individual breakfast biscuit sandwiches, oversize cookies, desserts and more.

But owner/chef Kraig Thome also offers sandwiches, soups, some of the best ice cream around and popular family-size meals. Comfort food favorites include King Ranch casserole, lasagna Bolognese, shepherd’s pie and Sunday gravy, one of our favorites. Kraig’s wife, Letty, a trained baker, occasionally adds her specialties —  Chilean-style empanadas, seasonal stollen — to the menu, which evolves weekly. Preordering is encouraged and ensures you won’t be disappointed because someone bought 60 potpies ahead of time or that last pan of focaccia was sold just before you walked in.

Sold by the quart, Kraig Thome’s Sunday Gravy is Italian-American home cooking at its best: rich, hearty and simmered until the pork is meltingly tender. He acknowledges that one could have a long discussion about sauce versus gravy, the tomatoes and what kind of meat to use, but he’d rather cook than talk. You can easily double the recipe to make a batch for large gatherings, and it freezes well. Serve over your favorite pasta — we like rigatoni — with extra cheese on the side, and enjoy with a glass of a hearty red wine.

Makes 4 quarts

  • Pork butt (5 pounds), cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt, pepper, granulated garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cans (28 ounces each) minus ½ cup (10 cups total) ground Italian tomatoes (see Note)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups grated Romano cheese
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Sugar, optional

Note For ground tomatoes, you can substitute crushed tomatoes or put whole peeled tomatoes in a blender until you get the right consistency (a little chunkier than a puree).

Spread pork evenly on a roasting pan; sprinkle with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. In a 425-degree oven, roast until meat is slightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

In a large stockpot over low to medium heat, add olive oil and sweat the onions and celery for 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add pork, including all the juice, to stockpot. Stir well. Add bay leaves, tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer for as long as necessary for the pork to become fall-apart tender. Remove from heat and stir in the Romano cheese and basil. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; if desired, add a bit of sugar to balance the flavor.


The Bakeshop This downtown Boyd pop-up is open 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday only. The preorder menu goes online (social media and the website) typically the Monday before and ordering closes 6 p.m. Friday. 118 W. Rock Island Ave., Boyd, and