I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and is enjoying the new year. Mine went well, but it involved a fever, blankets and electrolyte-replacing liquids. How about a toast to that?
But it wasn’t all that bad. After all, I was home with my man, my dogs, a stack of DVDs, and a roof over my head. I could ask for no more.
But a sidenote:: Don’t watch Jackass 2 if you are easily offended, or if you possess a refined sense of humor and find toilet humor absolutely disgusting. I’m still giggling.
As always, my better half knows exactly what it takes to cheer me up and lift my spirits, so on New Year’s Day he headed off to the kitchen to make one of my favorite things on earth–biscuits and gravy. But not just any biscuits and gravy folks. This is the recipe that he learned from his father.
Elton, my father-in-law, moved to California from Jackson, Mississippi when he was a teenager. His recipe for biscuits and gravy is one of the things he taught Adam, who informs me that "my dad taught me how to make biscuits and gravy when I was 10 years old. Then I got fat."
Sssh! We don’t think of these things when we eat biscuits and gravy. Besides, it’s not like we have this every day.
Although I grew up in Texas, which is next to the deep south, well, kinda sorta, biscuits and gravy were never the featured star at our breakfast table. They were flaky afterthoughts that took up space next to eggs and bacon. And the diner style of two dry hockypucks doused with bland floury gravy isn’t my idea of tasty. It wasn’t until Adam made biscuits and gravy from scratch that I realized how rib-sticking good they are by themselves, no other ingredients needed.
Elton, thank you for raising such a fine son who takes care of me when I’m under the weather. More importantly, thank you for passing down your recipe. I’m fat, too!
Biscuits & Gravy
While I’m a fan of letting sauces and flavors meld over time, I’ve learned that the best way to enjoy this dish is immediately. Besides, it’s not like I have enough will power to wait, you know?
For the sake of baking clarity I’m borrowing Alton Brown’s recipe for buttermilk biscuits, which is the same standard recipe that Adam learned and uses. I’m not a baker and I know I’d fudge something up for you since it’s not in front of me. And then peeps will be trippin. Besides, Alton sounds remarkably similar to Elton, no?
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting.
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
You can use any type of sausage, but breakfast sausages tend to pack more flavor and spice, yielding a tasty gravy.
1 lb breakfast sausage
4 cups of warmed whole milk
6-7 tablespoons of flour
2 -3 tablespoons of butter, optional, only if sausage is lean
salt and plenty of black pepper, to taste
Brown the meat. Add the flour and butter and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve over freshly baked biscuits.