So, I’m back on that comfort food trend. Honestly, I think I’m attracted to cooking dishes that I don’t particularly like, but other people do. Bryan loves biscuits, in general, but really loves biscuits and gravy. He’s ordered it at some of our local breakfast joints, and I always have a bite, but am never convinced that the taste outweighs the calorie/fat factor. I was at a friend’s cottage earlier in the week and had brought several pounds of our good bulk breakfast sausage that we buy from John Henry meats at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. The kids weren’t the biggest fans of the sausage patties (which I dried out a bit because I cooked them in the oven so as to not make a mess), so I thought maybe I’d try my hand at sausage gravy. We also had a lot of mushrooms which needed to get used, so I thought I could make sausage, mushroom gravy. I asked Bryan’s brother if he would eat biscuits and sausage gravy (since Bryan wasn’t there), and he was agreeable. I checked out a lot of recipes online, and the main ingredients and measurements were all pretty standard, but I figured I could make a few modifications to suit my palate, without making it “fancy” and losing the comfort food effect. I didn’t have my buttermilk biscuit recipe with me, and we didn’t have buttermilk, so I just used a biscuit recipe I found online. Well, the biscuits were a disaster, but the sausage gravy was a keeper (we ended up making a package of crescent rolls in place of the rock hard biscuits). Of course, after hearing that I made biscuits and gravy for his brother, Bryan was insistent that I do the same for him – this time, however, my biscuits worked out just as Bryan likes them. While this is certainly not going to be a regular breakfast option for us, it’s not as calorie/fat laden as I would have imagined.
Buttermilk Biscuits (4 Large Biscuits)
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 TBS. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 6 TBS. Unsalted Butter (Cold)
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor (or large bowl) combine dry ingredients. Cut butter into small (1/2 inch) pieces and add to dry ingredients. If using a food processor (recommended) pulse until butter is incorporated (pulse a few times, only a few seconds at a time). If not using a food processor, use a pastry cutter, a fork, or your hands to incorporate butter. Add buttermilk in about 1/3 cup at a time, mixing in between, but do NOT overmix. Transfer dough to a well floured surface and knead (as little as possible) until dough forms a ball. You can use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 1″ disc, but I often just pat it down with my hands (again, the key to flaky biscuits is to not overwork the dough). Use a biscuit cutter, the rim of a glass, or just a knife to cut out four round biscuits. You can reassemble the remaining dough, but, again, the more you work the dough, the less flaky your biscuits will be. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet or 8″ round cake pan. For softer biscuits, place the biscuits so they are touching each other. For crispier biscuits, place biscuits farther apart. Cook for 12-15 minutes until tops are browned. If you want extra browned tops, you can brush the tops with milk before baking.
Savory Sausage and Mushroom Gravy
- 1 LB. Breakfast Sausage (Bulk or Loose)
- 6-8 Oz. (2-2 1/2 Cups) Mushrooms – Coarsely Chopped*
- 1/2 Cup Sweet (or white) Onion – Finely Chopped
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 3 Cups of Milk
- 1/2 tsp. Fresh (or 1/4 tsp. dried) Thyme -Finely Chopped
- 1/4 tsp. Fresh (or 1/8 tsp. dried) Rosemary- Finely Chopped
- 1/2 tsp. Fresh (or 1/4 tsp. dried) Savory – Finely Chopped**
- 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)***
- Salt and Pepper- to taste
* I used regular white/button mushrooms, but use your favorite mushrooms, I think porcinis, baby bellas, shitakes, or even (my favorite) morels.
** If you don’t have savory, or one of the other herbs, use a combination that equals about 1 1/4 tsp. total.
***I think the red pepper flakes add the perfect amount of heat, but some sausages come flavored with a little bit of spice, so use your judgement.
In a large saute pan, cook sausage over medium heat (breaking it up while it cooks). When sausage is thoroughly cooked, drain off excess fat/liquid (leaving about 1-2 TBS. in pan. Add butter, onions, mushrooms, herbs and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook until onion is translucent and mushrooms are soft. Add flour, (a couple TBS. at a time, so the flour doesn’t clump) stirring until flour is incorporated. Cook until flour is browned – the only way to tell if it’s browned is by the browned bits on the bottom of the pan- about 7-9 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk to pan and as it heats, be sure to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium low (a little more than a simmer, but not a boil) until the mixture is thickened – about another 7-9 minutes- stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper and serve over a biscuit slice in half.