Biscuits and Gravy
While Biscuits and Gravy may be a staple or seem almost as All-American as apple pie to many people in North America, they are quite foreign to many cultures.
I grew up eating biscuits and gravy and not always in the traditional sense of the breakfast food ordered together as Biscuits and Gravy. Biscuits (not cookies) were served as the bread portion of many meals in my home growing up, and gravy was made at least once a week with the drippings from the meat that my mom cooked; fried chicken gravy, beef gravy from a roast, and even pork gravy from fried chops. I fell in love with gravy and still have a deep relationship with it today.
Gravy, like biscuits, means different things to different groups of people. If you were raised in an Italian home when you think of gravy you probably think of a tomato based sauce, like spaghetti sauce. Many people think of brown gravy made mostly with the drippings and stock of meat. The gravy I love the most is milk gravy.
Both of my parents made wonderful milk gravy; mom made it from the drippings of her fried chicken, and dad would brown sausage or ground beef and use the fat from that to make milk gravy. I still prefer milk gravy, but rather than using drippings from meat I make a white sauce with a butter and flour roux and then add my milk. Most generally I use mushrooms as my flavoring. It is delicious over biscuits or potatoes, and I have been known to eat it on a plain slice of bread.
When it comes to biscuits I like a big, fluffy, flaky biscuit. One of the best examples of this type of biscuit can be found in Colorado at the Denver Biscuit Company. Delicious. My biscuits do not always turn out quite as fluffy as I would like, but that doesn’t stop me from trying – or from eating the biscuits that aren’t as big and fluffy. I even make and eat drop biscuits. Also, I do not have to eat my biscuits covered in gravy. I can eat biscuits with butter, jam, honey, marmalade or a combination of those and more.
This past Sunday for brunch I made a pastrami hash for The Hubs and girls to eat, with homemade biscuits. For myself I made mushroom gravy. Later in the day I made a snack out of a leftover biscuit with some berry jam, served with some hot tea. For an evening treat I whipped up some chocolate gravy (yes, it’s a thing) and spooned that over yet another biscuit. That last combination may not be what most people think of when they’re thinking of a traditional serving of biscuits and gravy. In my opinion, that needs to change. It is wonderful.
I am intrigued to know if Biscuits and Gravy is common where you live, and how you like your biscuits and gravy.
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup butter or shortening, chilled
- 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
- Melted butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt using a fork or whisk. Use fingers or pastry cutter to work butter or shortening into flour mixture until most of the mixture resembles coarse meal leaving some pieces no larger than peas. Make a well in the flour and pour ½ of the milk into the well. Quickly work the milk into the flour mixture, adding small amounts of milk as you go. The dough should be a little wet.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for about 30 seconds. With a rolling pin roll dough gently to about 3/4 inch thickness, working in more flour if necessary. Using a biscuit cutter (or a glass or cookie cutter) cut into rounds. Place biscuits on greased baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Note: soft winter flour is best for making biscuits.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup cremini mushrooms, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until combined to make a roux. Do not overbrown. Whisking continuously add milk. Continue to whisk until sauce is thickened. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until gravy is thick and lightly brown. Serve warm.
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup whole milk (any milk will work)
- 4 teaspoons butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, and flour. Stir in milk, whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat, continuously whisking, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir and butter and vanilla until butter is melted and gravy is smooth. Serve over warm biscuits.