Recipe: Southern Comfort Biscuits and Gravy
After living in the South for eight years, I am sorry to admit that I’ve only tried about 3 Southern comfort foods: chicken fried steak, gumbo, and biscuits and gravy. (Yes, I am including Florida as the South even though Florida is the southernmost Northern state in America.) The chicken fried steak was from a DQ so no comment there. The gumbo was made by a college roommate’s mother and it was filled with shrimp that the roommate and his dad caught that morning. Awesome!! They probably don’t know this, but I would sneak some late at night while everyone was asleep. Oh, yeah, me bad; and, yes, I’m still pissed that I was left to do “women’s things” with the family while he went off to shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico. Jerk*. Loved his family, though.
The biscuits and gravy were actually first sampled at a monthly brunch hosted by our apartment complex. Yes, eight years in the South and I first sampled biscuits and gravy, free, from a bag. Free, people. Operative word. It’s just that after a while free starts to lose it’s appeal and good becomes the new operative word. I learned how to make a roue years ago while watching Emeril Live wanted to put it to actual practice.
I remember things really well, so if I watch it, I’ll probably remember how to do it. I have a lot stored up in my noggin, and I’m starting to stretch myself enough that that learning is getting used. Television make smart me!
Biscuits and gravy is understandably a Southern household staple – it is lick the plate good. Funny enough, Emeril makes a damn good biscuit, though I did make a few changes to it.
Southern Comfort Biscuits and Gravy
Serves: 7 to 14
(This recipe makes about 14 biscuits with gravy to cover each generously, so it’s up to your appetites how many it will feed.)
Traditional Southern Biscuits
This is from Emeril Lagasse on Food Network with a couple minor changes for taste and look.
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room-temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400°F.
1. In a large mixing bowl, add together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in 2 tablespoons of butter and the vegetable shortening until the flour becomes a fine crumble, your hands will work the best for this. Stir in the milk until it gets too solid, then use your hands to fold the milk in with the flour the rest of the way.
2. Heavily flour a clean surface until the surface is just blocked from view. Put the dough on the flour and flour the top lightly. Press it down lightly and gently fold the sides in 3 times to create the layers. Press it down and fold another 2 times. Lightly flour the top again and gently press it to 1″ thickness. Try to press it into a circular or rectangular shape, just keep it a cohesive shape. Using a 2-1/2″ circular press, cut out as many biscuits as you can and set aside. Take the scrapes and gently knead them together until just combined, adding a bit of flour. Refold it 3 times, press down to 1″ thickness, then cut out the rest of the biscuits. Do not repeat a third time.
3. Melt the remaining butter and pour into 2 non-stick cake pans. With each biscuit, set them into the butter, flip, and place in the pan. You want the butter to coat both top and bottom of the biscuits well so they get a nice golden color. After they are all buttered and arranged, let the biscuits rest for 15 minutes. (Start the gravy now.) Bake for 18 – 22 minutes until the tops are a golden brown.
16 oz sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Natural Sage Sausage)
4 Tbsp grease from the sausage or butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups half & half
2/3 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1. Brown the sausage over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven, occasionally breaking it up into smaller pieces as it cooks. Turn off the heat. Keeping the grease in the dutch oven, strain out the sausage against the side using a large spoon and set the sausage aside. Do not clean the dutch oven after this next step! Carefully pour the grease into a measuring cup, measure out 4 tablespoons. If there aren’t 4 tablespoons, supplement the missing amount of grease with butter. Put the measured grease back into the uncleaned dutch oven and turn the stove to medium-low heat.
2. To make the roue, whisk in the flour gathering up as much of the drippings on the bottom of the dutch oven as you can. Add the water slowly, constantly whisking. After the water is incorporated, add the pepper and salt. Gently whisk in the half & half about 1/2 cup at a time. Each time it’s added the roue will get thinner, so wait until it gets a bit thicker before adding more half & half.
3. Raise the heat to medium and add the sausage back in. Stir occasionally until it’s at the desired thickness.
Pour over the biscuits and serve!
Side note: Why did I have to remember that!? Now I’m getting all huffy. But, seriously, “I didn’t think you’d want to get up at 5am” doesn’t fly as a good excuse when it comes to me and being able to be on a boat in the middle of the Gulf (which I still haven’t been to) shrimping. I know it sounds whiny, but come on! I love to do new things and shrimping in the Gulf is not something many people get to do. Me being one of them. Still. Jerk*.
Another Side Note: This is what it looks like when a biscuit gets seasick…
*Edits made to remove hyperbolic language. If you are that person, sorry – but come on. To everyone else – it’s 28 days later, if you know what I mean.