There are some weekends where I wake up and I must have what my family calls “sausage biscuits and gravy”. Don’t ask me why we say the ingredients in those order – it makes more sense to say biscuits and sausage gravy. Maybe it’s because my dad slides a sausage patty in between his biscuit halves. Or because by the time it’s all on the plate - hot, spicy, and creamy sauce over flaky, buttermilk biscuits – it’s doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s just downright great. One of those breakfasts so satisfying it sends you right back to bed.
But in order for your biscuits and gravy to induce any kind of food coma, you must understand that there’s a right way and a wrong way to every biscuits and sausage gravy recipe (at least according to the authoritative Southern cooks I’d never disagree with in a million years).
Lard or Crisco (along with butter if you must)
White Lily brand flour
Using a rolling pin
That last don’t will really get you tough biscuits. Tough to craft and even tougher to take down. Love your biscuits the whole way through by hand, from the cutting in of the butter to the gentle kneading of the dough. As for the flour, if you don’t have access to one of the classic Southern brands, simply use cake flour. It has less protein content than all-purpose and will be less apt to toughen up during kneading.
And with the above arsenal of knowledge, anyone can roll out of bed, groggy and sleepy-eyed on a Saturday and have biscuits in the oven in ten minutes. Just mix the flour with salt and baking powder and rub in cold butter with your fingertips, using long strokes to get those fun flakes…
Add buttermilk (or even heavy cream) and knead just until the dough comes together in a large round. Form biscuits with a cutter, line them up very close on a sheet pan or in a cast-iron skillet, brush with buttermilk and bake.
While the biscuits bake, you can brown up sausage and simmer the gravy to pour over your gently-browned, tender, flaky biscuits. Trust me, you’ll be back in bed in less than an hour.
- 2 cups soft wheat or cake flour
- 4 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons shortening or lard
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 cup buttermilk or heavy cream
- 8 ounces of bulk Italian sausage, spicy or sweet
- ½ cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Dash of hot sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add butter, and rub in until the mixture looks like chunky, wet sand.
- Add buttermilk and stir gently with a wooden spoon or your hands. Once dough begins to come together, knead gently until you have a somewhat cohesive mass.
- Turn out onto counter, and knead a bit more if necessary, patting dough into a large round, about an inch thick.
- Cut into rounds with a water glass or biscuit cutter dipped in flour, line side by side on a sheet tray with edges touching or arrange in a cast-iron skillet.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until biscuits are lightly brown on top.
- In a non-stick skillet, brown sausage over medium heat breaking into small pieces with wooden spoon. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. While sausage cooks, mince onion and garlic.
- In same pan, sweat onions and garlic in butter over medium heat for about five minutes.
- Sprinkle flour over aromatics, and stir with a wooden spoon until butter absorbs flour, one to two minutes.
- Whisk in milk, bring to a boil stirring constantly, and reduce heat to a simmer. Add spices and seasonings and simmer on low heat for five to ten minutes stirring occasionally, until gravy thickens.
- Add sausage back to gravy, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.