Thursday, February 3

Biscuits and Gravy

Yesterday was a snow day.  Even Justin was stuck out home most of the morning. It took him two hours to shovel out our driveway. We don't have a long driveway.  One of the drifts was almost up to my waist.
 On a day like that, what sounds better than comfort food? So we made Justin's favorite breakfast- Biscuits and Gravy. From scratch of course.

We've been searching for a good recipie for both biscuits and sausage gravy for a while. We finally found both. On the same website.

However, before I give you the recipe I have one more hint. If you have a little one at your house who demands attention when you are trying to prepare supper, prepare as much as you can when they are happy to play by themselves or during nap time. For me that meant making the biscuits and refrigerating them and making the roux. Or if you don't to make the biscuits completely, mix the dry ingredients, cut in the butter and refrigerate that.

Without further ado, Biscuits and Gravy via  Mark Vogel

    For the biscuits: • 2 cups all purpose flour • 4 teaspoons baking powder • ¼ teaspoon baking soda • pinch of salt • 3 oz. cold butter, diced • 8 oz buttermilk
Combine and sift the dry ingredients. Gently knead in the butter.  Add the buttermilk and knead on a floured board just enough to bring the dough together.

It is vital that you knead gently and no more than is necessary or you will develop the gluten in the flour and make the biscuits tough. Good biscuits are as much a function of technique as ingredients.

Form a flat mass with the dough and cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter.  Don’t make them too high or the outside could become over browned by the time the inside is cooked.

Place them on parchment paper on a sheet tray and then into a preheated 400-degree oven.
Start the gravy immediately. It should be done close to the same time as the biscuits, which is when they are golden in color.
    For the gravy:• ½ pound ground breakfast sausage. • 2 tablespoons butter • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour • 3 cups cold milk • Salt and pepper to taste
Saut√© the sausage until it is cooked and has released as much of its fat as possible.  Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and do NOT drain the grease. You’ll need it to make the roux. (I said this was delicious, not health food).

You should have about 2 tablespoons of rendered pork fat.  Add the butter and melt it.  Then add the flour a little at a time over medium heat, constantly whisking.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Now start adding the cold milk a little at a time, whisking incessantly.  Toward the end of the milk add the sausage back in. When you reach the desired consistency add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the biscuits in half, pour the gravy over them, and enjoy one of the most embracing and comforting taste sensations known to man.

     A few points here.  The perfect roux has equal amounts of fat and flour.  If for some reason your sausage renders noticeably less or more than two tablespoons of fat, adjust the amount of flour accordingly. If you end up making more roux you will need more milk so have extra on hand.  Make sure the roux is cooked on no more than medium heat. We do not want to burn or brown the roux, just cook out the floury taste. Four things are necessary to assure a smooth, lump-free gravy. You must constantly whisk the roux and the gravy throughout the process.  You must add cold milk to the hot roux.  You must incorporate the milk a little at a time. And finally, keep the heat at no more than medium. You can adjust the consistency however you like, but a thick creamy gravy is the target viscosity.

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