I was born in New England and moved to the south as a teenager. I’ve adopted southern expressions into my speech, and definitely identify as a southern woman, but the one thing I’ve embraced above all else in southern culture is our fabulous food.
Fried pickles. Shrimp’n’grits. Fried green tomatoes. BBQ (if it ain’t pulled pork, it ain’t BBQ!). Buttermilk pie. Cheerwine.
Biscuits and gravy.
Mmmmm. Biscuits and gravy. Buttermilk biscuits, light and fluffy and crumbly, still hot from the oven, torn into pieces and covered in a milk gravy. Oh, yes please! Since my blog posts always go live first thing in the morning, I thought it might be fun to share my favorite breakfast with y’all. So, get out your biscuit cutters, baby, we’re gonna get cookin’! Traditionally, the gravy served with the biscuits is made with a nice, sage-y pork sausage. I’m personally not a big fan of sausage, so I’m suggesting an alternative: bacon gravy.
Now, timing is a big part of making biscuits and gravy. The gravy is going to take about 15-20 minutes to thicken, and your biscuits are going to cook about as long, so you need to be ready to put the biscuits in the oven about the same time as you’re pouring the milk into your gravy pan. So, start the gravy first, and pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees (400 if convection) while the bacon is cooking.
6ish slices of bacon (I’ve made it with as few as 4 if it’s really fatty bacon, center cut might take more)
half an onion, finely chopped
1/4 (ish–maybe less!) tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
hot sauce (I use a dash of sriracha)
6 tablepoons flour
4 cups milk
Lots and lots of fresh ground pepper
Cook the bacon until crispy , remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Pour off the grease to a heat-safe bowl and set aside, leaving enough in the pan to cook the onion. Saute the onion in the bacon grease over medium-high heat until the edges start to brown and the onions are translucent (start the biscuits while the onion is cooking).
When the onions are turning nice and browned and clear, dump in your flour and add enough bacon grease back to the pan to make a nice silky roux. You will need to keep whisking every few minutes to keep the roux from burning, so, keep an eye on it! Grind in some pepper and the nutmeg, whisk into the roux.
When the roux is about the same color as a cup of coffee with milk in it, then it’s time to add your milk. Whisk it in slowly, then add in your hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, and sprinkle in some tarragon. It will take about 15 minutes to thicken, so turn the heat to low and stir a few times to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Just before serving, crumble the crispy bacon back into the gravy.
Meanwhile, the biscuits. This recipe should make 6-8 biscuits
2 1/2 cups of self-rising flour (martha white or white lily)
1 stick cold butter (I never claimed it was a healthy breakfast, just a yummy one!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chilled buttermilk
In a large bowl, whisk together the salt and self-rising flour. (note: spoon the flour into the measuring cup, don’t scoop it. Level it off with the back of a knife.)
When well-mixed, cut in your butter. Work quickly to keep the butter cold (alternatively, you can cut the butter into small pieces the night before and leave them in the freezer over night, then stir them into your flour in the morning)
Make a well in your flour mixture, pour in the buttermilk. Working quickly again, stir in the buttermilk until you have a nice, tacky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Handling as little as possible, flatten it out into an inch thick circle. Dip your biscuit cutter (2 inch) into some flour before and in between each cut, and cut your biscuits, laying them out on an ungreased cookie sheet. Do not TWIST your cutter, straight in, straight out.
Bake at 450 degrees (400 if using a convection oven) for about 15-18 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet 180 degrees halfway through. Serve with the gravy.
And there you have it, my very favorite breakfast. Obviously, a little too much fuss to do every day (not to mention the hell it would play on the arteries) but perfect for a lazy weekend morning when you have nowhere to be but home. Enjoy!