The Bs and Gs (Plus Help Nashville!)
As most of you probably know, Betsy is from Nashville and while her family is doing okay from the flood, it’s been kind of devastating to look at the pictures and videos of the flood. I mean, we were just there like three weeks ago getting married and now all the places we went to are underwater or recovering.
Bets asked me to make one of her favorite Southern brunch dishes that she always used to eat in Nashville: Biscuits and Gravy. I was of course happy to oblige!
This also happened to be one of my favorite brunch/late night dishes in high school as well. We had this awesome diner in town that was open 24 hours a day and we’d go there for a late night snack. Biscuits and gravy was one of my favorite things to get. Or as we used to call them in high school: The Bs and Gs.
In my opinion, nothing makes this dish better than homemade buttermilk biscuits. They aren’t that hard and they take this dish to another level of deliciousness.
1) Start biscuits by mixing flour with salt and baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.
2) Cut in cold butter or shortening using your fingers until it resembles small pea-sized pieces in the flour.
3) Add buttermilk and mix until the mixture forms a loose dough. Don’t over-mix the dough.
4) Scoop the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it out in a rectangle shape. Fold it into thirds over itself. Then roll it out gently and do it again. Finally roll it out until it’s about 1 inch thick.
5) Cut the biscuits out of the dough. You can either cut out circles or just slice the dough into rectangles.
6) Add biscuits to an ungreased baking sheet and brush them with some extra buttermilk. Then bake them at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until they are golden brown.
7) For gravy, cook sausage in a cast iron pan until it well-browned and cooked through. Remove it from the pan and leave as much of the grease as you can.
8) Add flour to pan and whisk to form a roux. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until it turns a light tan color.
9) Slowly whisk milk into roux. Work slowly so lumps don’t form. Once the milk is incorporated, continue to cook until it’s nice and thick.
10) Stir sausage back into gravy and season with salt and pepper.
11) Serve biscuits with the gravy!
Making the Biscuits
These are really good biscuits. I used butter but the original recipe from Tyler used shortening so I guess use whichever one you want.
Start the biscuits by mixing the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a big bowl and then cut in your shortening or butter. You can either use one of those shortening cutter devices or also you can just use your fingers to mix in the butter. You want pea-sized balls of butter. Lumps are good here people.
Next, add about 1 1/2 Cups of buttermilk and mix it up. If it still looks dry, add a bit more. It should stick together but not be gooey at all. The key thing about biscuit dough is not to overwork it. Once all the dough comes together, pour it out onto a well-floured surface and roll it into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
Then fold it into thirds by folding the left half over and then folding the right half over the left half. This will create layers in the biscuits and make them really flaky.
Gently roll out the rectangle again, this time until the dough is about 1 inch thick. At this point, you could cut them into circles if you wanted, but I like squares actually because it doesn’t waste any dough and is a lot easier.
Whatever shape you decide on, then just set the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and brush them all with buttermilk.
Baking the biscuits
Bake these guys at 375 for about 25-30 minutes until they are golden brown on top. These are about perfect.
This is a really basic sausage gravy, but I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that needs to be too complicated. Start with your favorite hot pork sausage and remove it from the casing. In my humble opinion, a cast iron skillet is really your best bet for making this gravy.
Add your sausage to the pan and cook it down over medium heat until it’s nice and brown.
Remove your sausage from the pan but leave as much grease from the sausage as you can. It’s okay if some sausage hangs around for the party also. Then add your flour to the grease and stir it to make a roux. Keep it over medium heat and cook it until the flour taste is out and it turns a light tan color. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
The trick to lump-free gravy
There’s really only two things to remember to keep your gravy lump free. First, make sure you warm up your milk before you add it to the roux. I just nuked mine in the microwave for a few minutes until it was just warm to the touch.
The second trick is just to whisk like crazy as you pour the milk into the roux. Don’t pour all the milk at once either. Pour it slowly and keep whisking. At first it might look like lumps are forming, but just keep pouring and whisking and it’ll smooth out. Once you get all your milk incorporated (you might not need all 4 Cups), then you can whisk your sausage back into the mix.
Be sure to give this mixture a good pinch of salt and lots of fresh ground pepper.
You know the rest of the story. Open up a few biscuits and ladle on as much gravy as you want. Sooo good.
HELPING OUT NASHVILLE
Besides making a good Southern meal, Betsy and I wanted to help out by making a donation to the Mid-South Red Cross who are helping on the ground with the clean-up and recovery in Nashville.
So here’s the deal. For each comment this post gets, Betsy and I will be donating $1 to the relief work. We’ll go up to $200, so leave a comment and help out!
Please share this post on Twitter or your social networking site of choice so we can get 200 comments!