Thursday, August 11, 2011

Southern Biscuits and Gravy

I'm kind of a cool aunt.  Maybe it's just the fact that I don't have kids that all of my niece's and nephew's love to stay overnight with Dave and me, but maybe it's because I'm just really cool.  Either way, my go to recipe for every time my niece Maddie spends the night is Biscuits and Gravy.  She absolutely loves my recipe, and my Biscuits and Gravy were the first she had ever had.  This blew me away since she lived in Oklahoma, and I'm sure they make better than I do.  I'm no southern cook, so I'm sure you kind find much better recipes by Paula Deen or someone that lives in South, but for now I'm content using mine.  Who knows, in a year I may end up somewhere in the south for my husbands Medical school, and then I will give you a recipe that knocks your socks off!  I think this one will come really close though!  ;)

To start off, I just want you to know that this recipe is the easiest recipe on the planet.  There is no way you can screw up biscuits and anything with butter and cream or milk is going to turn out great.  The recipe for gravy is very simple, and not your regular gravy it's specifically for biscuits and gravy, so don't use it for your Sunday dinner roast.  I'll stop chibber-chabbering now and give you the goods....

***Specifically for my reader Liz, I have come up with a recipe that is really LOW in saturated fat, so if you would like the differences let me know and I will email them to you.  I will try to do this for most of my recipes from now on.  Thanks for reading my friend!!***

For the Biscuits
3 cups Flour
2 Tbs. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups Chilled Butter Milk
1 Tbs. Butter (melted to spread on top after baking)

For the Gravy
1 lb. ground Pork Sausage (I use either maple or sage flavored, and SAVE THE GREASE!)
1/4 cup chopped Onion
6 Tbs. Flour
3 cups Whole Milk
1 cup Half and Half (you can use all whole milk if you would like, I just like my gravy really creamy and thick)
1/2 tsp. Poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried Parsley
dash of Nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp. Salt
Dash of Worcestershire
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
3 Tbs. Sausage grease

Buttermilk Biscuits
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly. Gradually add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Dough should be sticky. Do not overwork dough.

Flour your hands and turn out the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and gently fold it over on itself 2 or 3 times. Shape into a 3/4” thick round. If you use a rolling pin, be sure to flour it first to keep the dough from sticking to the pin. 

Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, or a 1/4 cup measuring cup, cut out the biscuits pressing straight down (avoid the temptation to twist the cutter as twisting keeps the biscuits from rising). Dip the cutter in flour between cuttings to keep the dough from sticking to the cutter. Place biscuits on the baking sheet so that they just touch (for crunchy sides, leave space in between). Reshape scrap dough and continue cutting. Remember to handle the dough as little as possible.  (I just eyeball my biscuits most of the time.  If you don't have a biscuit cutter just flour your 1/4 cup measuring cup and push down through the dough.  If you don't care how pretty they are you can also just grab a handful about the size of 3/4 of a small baseball and plop it onto your baking sheet.  It just depends on how pretty you want your biscuits.)

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. Turn the baking sheet around halfway through baking.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter when they come out.

Sausage Gravy 
Preheat a BIG saucepan over medium high heat (put a few drops of water in the pan – when they evaporate, you know the pan is ready). Crumble the sausage into the pan and let it brown for a minute or two, then turn down to medium heat. Continue cooking, breaking up the sausage into smaller pieces, until no pink remains.   Stir in the onions and cook until they are transparent. 

Remove sausage with a slotted spatula or spoon, leaving the drippings in the pan. If less than 3 tbsp of drippings remain, add enough butter to equal about 3 tbsp of drippings. Add the cooked sausage back to the pan on medium heat, and sprinkle the flour over the sausage. Stir in the flour and cook for about 7 minutes, until the mixture starts bubbling and turns slightly golden brown. 

Stir in poultry seasoning, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, Cayenne, Parsley, and salt – cook for 2 minutes to soak in those flavors. Slowly add the milk and half and half.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened (about 15 minutes). Be patient, it will thicken!  Once it's thickened you can add more salt or pepper for your taste.  Enjoy!!

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