Biscuits and Gravy

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Traditional and easy.

Biscuits: Cook’s Illustrated Best Drop Biscuits, November 2007. I found the recipe at Serious Eats and it’s easier than my aunt’s, but not any less tasty.

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold buttermilk
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly (about 5 minutes)

My dirty secret: I never have unsalted butter on hand. I use salted in everything. To compensate, I use kosher salt instead of table salt, since I never have table salt either. So far, it works!

Melt the butter and set aside. I find a combination of microwaving and stirring vigorously to be the best method.

Measure the buttermilk in a 2-cup or larger measuring cup. Set that aside too.

Preheat the oven to 475. Grease or apply parchment to a baking sheet. Set that aside too, to wait. (Clearly “aside” should be the most spacious area in your kitchen.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt until uniform (then whisk a little more just to make sure).

Dump the butter into the buttermilk and stir vigorously. The goal here is to get the melted butter to clump up — there should be smallish butter grains throughout when you’re done.

Pour the buttermilk-butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir. Don’t work it too much, but a bit of stirring will get all the flour incorporated pretty easily, even though it looks hopeless at first. Drop the resultant biscuits by quarter-cupfuls onto your baking sheet, an inch or so apart from one another. Bake at 475F for 12-14 minutes or until slightly browned. If you’re going to serve them not covered in gravy, you can brush the tops with melted butter and it’s all pretty. I didn’t, since I had gravy going.

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Gravy: Basic Sausage Gravy

No source on this one; I’ve known how to make it a long time.

1 lb. bulk sausage
1/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown your sausage in a pan to which stuff sticks, so you get nice brown bits on the bottom of the fan. I’m a firm browner; I don’t like greyish sausage. It works well for this meal.

When sausage is browned, add the flour and stir until it’s nearly invisible — a few places where it looks like bubbling roux is fine.

Add about a third of the milk and scrape the bejesus out of your pan to get the brown stuff off the bottom. Once it’s pretty clean down there, add the rest of the milk and stir vigorously. Add a bunch of pepper.

Cook over medium-low heat until the gravy is nice and thick. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve over biscuits.

Note: ideally you’ll have a delicious sausage with all the herbs and spices you like in your sausage. If not, cheat and add them while you’re breaking it up — this batch could have done with some rosemary and garlic, but I’d never used this brand of sausage before.

To balance these together, I put the sausage on to brown over medium-low heat first. Once the biscuit tray and dry ingredients were ready, I put the spurs to it for a couple of minutes while I could pay attention and the butter cooled, getting the sausage nice and brown, stirring in the flour and milk, and then I turned the heat back down while I turned my attention to getting the biscuits mixed, panned and in the oven. Once they were baking, I checked the state of the gravy and found it coming along nicely, so I benignly ignored everything save for occasional gravy-stirring until the biscuits were done. That got everything ready at once.

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~ by iliadawry on 1 May 2012.

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