>Southern style biscuits and gravy


So, I’d love to say that this biscuit recipe is a family treasure, but the truth is I grew up on Bisquick biscuits – both my grandmother and my mother used this quick and easy substitute.  My grandmother always claimed she had a “secret recipe” for biscuits, but the truth is that her secret was that yellow box. I always assumed it was because making scratch biscuits was too complicated or time consuming.

When I started cooking in earnest, I decided this was something I needed to master, and so set to finding a recipe that I liked.  I’m a fan of a rolled biscuit, rather than a drop biscuit (although I do like a quick drop version when I’m in a hurry).  I like the way the clean-cut edges rise like puff-pastry as the water from the butter turns to steam and expands during the baking process.  I have adapted a version from The Joy of Cooking, but over time have made it my own.

I start by combining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  I then cut in butter with a pastry cutter until it resembles course meal.  Then I pour in the buttermilk and stir it all together with a fork.  This loose dough gets turned out onto a floured dishtowel and kneaded 8-10 times until it’s a smooth ball.

I roll the dough into a 1/2 inch thick round

And cut the round into 3-inch discs with a biscuit cutter

I re-roll the scraps and generally can get 9-10 biscuits out of this recipe.
I like to bake the biscuits in a cast-iron skillet.  I heat it on top of the stove, melting a couple of tablespoons of vegetable shortening in the process – this serves as the grease to coat the pan (prevents sticking and makes a great light crispy crust on the outside)

I coat each of the biscuits in the oil on both sides.  They start rising immediately from the heat in the pre-heated pan.

I place them in a preheated 450 degree oven

Baking them until they’re golden brown and flaky

I top them with sausage gravy – another southern specialty.  This is something I grew up eating, and one of my husband’s favorite breakfasts.

Start by browning a pound of breakfast sausage (I use hot) in a skillet.  I like to use a potato masher to break it up and ensure even browning.

Once brown, remove the sausage from the pan, along with most of the rendered fat.  Add a couple of tablespoons of flour to the pan, creating a very dry roux. Use a flat roux whisk to move it around in the pan and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom

Once this has browned slightly, whisk in two cups of milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  Add salt and lots of black pepper (lots! – it’s just not the same without lots of black pepper)

Once this has thickened, add the sausage back in

Let this cook a little longer, adding more milk if necessary as it thickens further in the process.
Serve over biscuits.

Rolled Buttermilk Biscuits
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk
1. preheat oven to 450
2.  whisk together dry ingredients
3. cut in butter with pastry cutter until it resembles course meal
4. create a well in the flour/butter mixture and pour in buttermilk.  combine with a fork until a loose ball is formed.
5. turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8-10 times.
6. cut with a biscuit cutter and bake in a greased cast-iron skillet until golden brown and flaky (15-20 minutes).
Sausage gravy
1 pound breakfast sausage
2-3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk
1. brown sausage in large skillet; once brown, remove to drain
2. add flour to pan and whisk to combine with remaining fat, creating a very dry roux.
3. slowly add milk, whisking to prevent lumps.
4.  add salt and pepper
5. add sausage back to pan, and simmer for 5-10 minutes more, adding more milk if necessary.


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