November 15, 2010

Biscuits and Gravy, v. 2.0

On Saturday morning, I made my second try at biscuits and gravy, determined to get a better result than I had the week before. 

Once again I started out with the Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits recipe from the January 2006 Cook's Illustrated.   This recipe incorporates chunks of shortening and butter into the dough, which is then rolled out, folded multiple times, rolled out and folded yet again before being rolled out a final time before the biscuits are cut. This results in layering, and in the butter melting to leave space between the layers, which makes for a flakier biscuit.

The results were quite good this time around.  These golden-brown biscuits rose well and were delightfully flaky.  They went great with the gravy, and they were also delicious when topped with some of the excellent blackberry jam we picked up at the Stringtown Grocery near Kalona.

The gravy also turned out quite well, and was vastly better than my first attempt.  I used a more mild sausage, stuck with basic seasonings and used a lot more milk, and the result was rich and tasty, and went great with the hot, fresh biscuits.   I'm not 100% satisfied with this recipe yet, but I think I might get there with a bit of fine-tuning.  As is, I think it makes for better biscuits and gravy than any other I've had for the past several years, and hands-down beats the convenience store, chain restaurant and fast-food versions.

Sausage Gravy

yield = 4-6 servings

1       pound pork sausage
2       tablespoons grated onion
1       teaspoon minced garlic
2       teaspoons butter
3       tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4    teaspoon cayenne pepper
21/4  cups milk
1       cup  buttermilk
         salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, onion and garlic until the onion is soft and the sausage is cooked through.  Use the side of a wooden spoon or to break the sausage into small pieces.

Push the sausage/onion/garlic mixture to the sides of the pan and melt the butter in the middle of the pan.  Add the flour and cayenne to the melted butter and wisk together to make a roux.   Add the milk and buttermilk and stir to dissolve the roux and to incorporate the gravy into the sausage mixture.  Cook until thickened (about 3 minutes), then season to taste and serve over fresh biscuits.

1 comment:

  1. Jeffrey here again. I just wanted to update this post by noting that I froze the leftover sausage gravy on Saturday and defrosted and warmed it up today, and it turned out great.

    This time I bought biscuits-in-a-tube from the grocery store rather than making my own, but the gravy was great atop those. The experience of freezing and defrosting them in the microwave did intensify the flavor of the onion somewhat, but the gravy was quite good with simply adding an extra 1/2 cup of milk as I warmed it up.

    So, I've confirmed that this will stand up to freezing for at least a short while, which is nice to know for making big batches.