Monday, February 3, 2014

Sausage gravy on biscuits

It's a gray, cold, snowy day, and I needed a reminder that Sunday brunch on the patio in the backyard isn't too far away.

Sausage gravy with homemade biscuits. I've done this recipe before, but add this variation:  if you're so inclined, or if you don't have sausage on hand, this works equally well with any kind of ground meat -- beef, turkey, pork.  I would be sure to saute half an onion or a shallot, and maybe add a crushed garlic clove before browning the meat, to add extra flavor to unseasoned ground meat (unlike sausage, which is fully seasoned, and often flavored, ground pork). I also really like adding Worcestershire and Tabasco to jazz up the flavor. 

And after you've finished the sausage gravy, you can always slather a biscuit with sweet butter and homemade peach jam.  Yes, you can.

The recipe I've been using for biscuits is from the New York Times (Melissa Clark).  It's a very good all-purpose recipe, though written in an annoying style, as the NYTimes seems convinced of late, that all its readers are cooking with metric measurements.  Odd.

And though the recipe calls for part cake flour (to approximate the soft flours used in 'classic' Southern biscuit recipes), I typically use just all-purpose flour, and it works just fine.  

I don't use a biscuit cutter.  After rolling out the dough, I cut with a knife into triangles.  No fuss, no bother.  

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits (source: The New York Times)
Yield 10 to 12 biscuits

Time 30 minutes
    230 grams (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
    50 grams (about 1/2 cup) cake flour
    15 grams (about 1 tablespoon) baking powder
    8 grams (about 2 teaspoons) sugar
    6 grams (about 1 1/4 teaspoon) fine sea salt
    9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    1 cup buttermilk, chilled.

    1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
    2. In a bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, quickly cut in 8 tablespoons butter until it forms pea-size crumbs and is uniformly mixed it (for flaky biscuits you want the butter to remain cold). Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in buttermilk. Stir together until it just forms a moist, slightly tacky dough.
    3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 2 or 3 times, then pat out into a 3/4-inch-thick round. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut the biscuits. Twisting the cutter prevents proper rising; to prevent sticking, dip the cutter lightly in flour between biscuits. Do not re-roll the scraps, but pat them together and cut into rounds. Transfer biscuits to the baking sheet.
    4. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Brush butter lightly over the tops of hot biscuits. Bake until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

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