True Southern biscuits and gravy

 

Hands down this recipe makes the best biscuits and gravy you’ll ever eat.

 

Nothing disturbs me more than stopping in to a greasy spoon somewhere and seeing Southern ‘Biscuits and gravy’ on the menu. I love biscuits and gravy! Ordering them though is another matter all together. I bet, no, I know, when my breakfast arrives my plate will contain those horrible institutionally pre frozen biscuits drowned in that white soapy tasting gravy that sells in #10 cans!

What really amazes me is when I run into this down here in the Southern Boonies you’d think the folks in town would run the cook out on a rail! I mean Southern? Pu-lease!

First of all, biscuits have to be made fresh, and they’re so easy to do so. I can lay out a breakfast of biscuits and gravy from scratch just as fast as if using pre made junk. And… it taste dee-licious!

When friends come down here to visit from out west or (shudder) up North, the conversation always seems to get around to ‘real’ Southern food. I’m not kidding here but my biscuits and gravy are always held up as “real Southern food”. The reason? The recipe is well over 100 years old…and given to me by someone who’s family has been here in the South since the early 1800’s. This is a true Heritage recipe. I have “modernized” it for convenience sake. After all, who would know that a ‘passle’ of salt is equal to 1/2 tsp or running your wood cook stove at ‘very quick’ is equal to 450-500 degrees.

Biscuit recipe  (read entire recipe through before starting)

2 Cups of unbleached all purpose unbleached flour (not bread flour)

4 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

3/4 teaspoon of salt

2 Tablespoons of butter

2 Tablespoons of shortening (The original recipe calls for pork lard and it still makes the best tasting biscuits!)

1 cup of buttermilk. (Powdered buttermilk mix can be used. It works great and last for months or you can make your own.  Simply add 1 Tbl of white vinegar to each cup of milk, stir and let stand 15 minutes until curdling starts , then use.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Gather all ingredients, baking pans etc, before starting. Flour is best if chilled ( I always keep mine in the fridge anyway. Flour beatle’s can easily hatch in warm flour. Also make sure your baking powder is not out of date or your biscuits may not rise!). Chilled flour will prevent butter and shortening from melting too early.

In a large mixing bowl, (do not use an electric mixer for this recipe)  combine chilled 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. Add enough flour to the bowl until it looks like the dough can be rolled out. The dough is to remain a bit sticky so be careful not to add so much flour that the dough becomes a bread dough.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a ¾ inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter. (A small drinking glass works well.)  Push straight down through the dough while twisting cutter to free the biscuit from the dough pile. Place biscuits on a ungreased baking sheet so that they nearly touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting more biscuits out of it.

Bake until biscuits are tall and golden brown on top, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Sausage gravy recipe

1 lb plain or sage spiced breakfast sausage*

½ teaspoon of pepper

dash of salt (if desired)

1 teaspoon of ground sage

3-4 Tablespoons of flour

4 cups of milk

Brown sausage while adding salt, pepper and sage to browning sausage. Preheat milk to very warm temperature but not to scalding. When sausage is almost completely browned, add the 3 tbl flour sprinkling it evenly over sausage. Brown flour with sausage for 2 more minutes.

Add the warm milk while stirring constantly. Boiling will be noted. If needed, add milk or small amounts of flour to get the consistency you like in your gravy.

Pour over biscuits (broken up or whole)  immediately and serve hot.

 

* How to make your very own breakfast sausage from scratch;

Use either 2 lbs of pork butt or pre ground bulk pork sausage. (if pork butt is used; dice into 1/4″ pieces)

1/2 lb of fat back. Cut it also into 1/4″ pieces.

Mix pork and fat together then grind in either a hand or electric meat grinder

In a large bowl mix the ingredients listed below by hand into in to the ground pork; Never use an electric mixer.

2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp of fresh finely chopped sage leaves or 1 tsp of powdered sage

2 tsp of fresh finely chopped thyme leaves or 1 tsp of powdered thyme

2 tsp of fresh finely chopped rosemary or 1 tsp of powdered rosemary

1 Tbl of brown sugar

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients and chill for 1-2 hours to tighten meat up. (I chill mine overnight to increase the flavor). Using the fine grinder blade, grind pork . If using pre ground bulk sausage chill and mix all ingredients together well.  Cook as above recipe instructs. (To make into patties just roll into balls, flatten into a 3″ round and cook in a medium heated skillet.)

 

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