Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Biscuits and Sausage Gravy!

So, really, my plan is to post healthy recipes on this site, but with the move, I have not had much time to do menu planning. So, when I was putting together my meal plan for this week this morning, about 30 minutes before I needed to head out the door to the grocery store, it included some of my go-to recipes. Since I grew up in Texas, what is a better go-to recipe than biscuits and sausage gravy? Although, I have to admit I think I was in high school before I actually discovered the meal of biscuits and gravy. I would always ask for extra gravy on the side when I ordered chicken fried steak and then I would dip my rolls into the gravy. My mom finally asked me if I knew about biscuits and gravy. I was a fan from then on! This is one of my favorite comfort food recipes - I love it when it is chilly and gray outside. I did make things a little bit healthier this time by making whole wheat biscuits and using chicken sausage.

I searched a LONG time for a good biscuit recipe. My husband sat through many breakfasts/dinners with me picking apart what I liked and didn't like about the most recent recipe. And then I found a blog that I love - Homesick Texan - there are a ton of recipes that I have tried and loved, but the one I go back to most frequently is her beaten biscuits. I have this recipe printed out and at the top, I have written "THE recipe" - I am searching no more!

You start out by mixing together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Then, if you are lucky like me and got a pastry blender for Christmas, use this to cut the butter into the flour mixture. If you are not so lucky, you can do what I have done in the past and use your fingers.

Next, pour in your buttermilk. If you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute cream or half and half. I have even used the little man's whole milk in a pinch. Or, you could try your hand at making your own buttermilk substitute. Or, you can go all out a whip up a batch of homemade butter in your food processor or stand mixer, and use the buttermilk from that process to make your biscuits! I have done this before - so, so easy! So, so yummy!

Mix the buttermilk into the dough - it can be pretty sticky at this point, although I noticed that with whole wheat flour, it isn't as sticky. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead for a bit.

Now, for the fun part - beating the dough! This is even better than kneading bread dough for getting out some aggression. Take you rolling pin and give the dough a good whack. Every few whacks, fold the dough in half and give it a turn. Keep this up for a couple of minutes.

Next you roll it out, to about 1/4 inch thick and then fold it in half. I love this part because it makes it super easy to split the biscuits when they are done.  Then proceed to cutting the biscuits. I don't have a biscuit cutter, so I use a fluted cookie cutter - makes for some pretty biscuits!

Then you place them closely together on pan lined with Silpat (or if you don't have Silpat, you could grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper). While the biscuits are baking, it's time to work on the sausage gravy. This is not a recipe I tend to use measurements for, but I measured today to give you an idea of what I do. Today I used chicken sausage I found at a local health food store that carries meat from nearby ranches and farms. And, my husband and I agreed that it was better than any pork sausage that we have ever had. I just noticed today when I was grocery shopping that every brand of breakfast sausage has MSG! Not something I really want added to my food. Which is why I picked up the all natural chicken sausage. Okay, back to the recipe. I had the sausage browning while I was making my biscuits. It took a while because the sausage was frozen.

When the sausage was completely cooked, I sprinkled on some flour. It will coat the sausage and make it look kind of gummy. This is good ;-). Let the flour cook for a minute or so (get rid of the raw flour taste!).

Now it's time to add the milk. I usually add a cup or so and then let it thicken up before I add the remaining cup of milk.  The great thing about cream gravy is that it is pretty flexible. If you add too much milk and the gravy is thin, just let it keep cooking, it will thicken up if you give it time. Or, if you let it cook too long and it is too thick, just add a little more milk.

While you are waiting for your gravy to boil and start thickening up, now would be a good time to look around at the havoc that has been wreaked by your little one while you have been cooking! We have more easily accessible drawers in our new place, so my little man has found all kinds of new play things in the kitchen. Today's drawer of choice was my cookie cutters.

If you have timed your cooking right (which rarely happens with me), you should be pulling out your golden brown biscuits....

... at the same time as your gravy reaches a nice, thick consistency...

...and you can dish up this plate of yumminess!

adapted from Homesick Texan

1 C. white flour*

1 T.  baking powder
1 t. of sugar
1/2 t. of salt
1 stick of butter, cold (8 tablespoons), cut into small pieces
3/4 cup of buttermilk

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs.
  4. Add the buttermilk, mixing until a bit loose and sticky.
  5. Pour dough out on a floured surface, and knead for a minute. Dough should be smooth and no longer wet. You can sprinkle more flour on the surface if you find it’s sticking.
  6. Take dough into a ball, and hit it with a rolling pin, turning it and folding it in half every few whacks. Do this for a couple of minutes.
  7. Roll out dough until it’s 1/4 of an inch thick, and then fold it in half.
  8. Using a round cutter (or a fluted cookie cutter ;-)) cut out your biscuits from folded dough.
  9. Place on a greased baking sheet close together (so they rise up not out), and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
The number of biscuits depends on the size of your cutter. I usually get around 12 or 13 when I use my 2.5 inch cutter.

*In the past, I have also successfully used 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (which has a lighter texture than regular whole wheat flour) or 2 cups of white wheat flour (I have found this in King Arthur brand flour).

Sausage Gravy

1 lb. breakfast sausage (pork, chicken, turkey - whatever you want!)
2 T. flour
2 C. milk (skim, low fat, whole, you could even really splurge and use some half and half or cream!)
Ground black pepper to taste

  1. Brown sausage in large skillet. Don't drain the grease!
  2. Sprinkle flour over browned sausage and stir until flour coats the sausage. Cook over medium heat for a minute or two to get ride of raw flour taste. 
  3. Add 1 cup of milk to sausage mixture. Bring gravy to a boil and let it thicken. Then add remaining cup of milk and repeat.
  4. If gravy is too thin, cook a few more minutes until it reaches desired consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out. 

Tools I used:

    1 comment:

    1. i love biscuits and gravy...i prefer that over sweet doughnuts or pancakes any morning!