RECIPE: Biscuits and Gravy

Nothing screams comfort food more to a southern gal than biscuits and gravy.  Well, OK there's a few other things but I digress.  Gravy is such a part of my world view that it's even an exclamation.  If you know me then Oh Gravy, Good Gravy or even Good Gravy Mavis have been part of my speech for years.  Not long ago I was talking to my other southern friend over at A Simply Enchanted Life and I could only repeat gravy, gravy, gravy.  Her retort?  When life gives you gravy... to which the only response was make biscuits.  Hence a new life mantra was born.  I grew up on biscuits and gravy.  In college we moniker them Bs & Gs.  The cafeteria had some amazing Bs & Gs and it was on the menu every Wednesday morning.  The only morning we made it to breakfast.  Today, it's chilly (read freezing) and chance of snow.  I feel like comfort food.

The Biscuits
I feel the need to share with you the biscuit recipe that I grew up on.  Grandma Atkins was an amazing cook, even better baker and I'm choosing to share her recipe.

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk


Combine flour, baking powder, salt; cut in shortening until mixture looks like meal. Stir in milk. Round up dough on lightly floured board; knead lightly. Roll 1/2-inch thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter; place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450* for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 12.

Seriously, these are pretty amazing fluffy biscuits.  The biscuits that breakfast dreams are made of.  But I'm not making them.  Several years ago I discovered frozen biscuits.  They aren't quite the same but they come pretty close.  An untested palette will never know the difference.  And by untested I also mean someone who hasn't eaten amazing homemade biscuits in quite a while.

The Gravy
Breakfast Sausage (I'm using homegrown locally processed pork sausage, use any sausage you prefer)
Butter (if you sausage doesn't have quite enough fat - see sausage above)
Some people like pepper - not I

Cook the sausage thoroughly.  Seriously, no pink left.  I average 2 ounces of sausage (pre-cooking) per serving of sausage give or take your preference.  And cook it completely!
See No Pink!

 Today I'm cooking a full pound but I don't need near that much today so I'm saving the rest for another recipe later.  (Cooked sausage can be frozen!) 
Add Flour

See how little fat there is there.  I added about a tablespoon of the butter and it was about the perfect amount of fat.  Add flour to just cover the sausage lightly and absorb most of the fat.  Too much flour and your gravy will be too thick and a gallon of milk later before it's right.  I used about a tablespoon and a half for this sausage.  Let that cook in a little before adding the milk. 

Add Milk

If you know me at all you know that as a rule I don't measure.  It's more by flavor, sight and guesswork.  It's a fine ratio of meat, fat and flour that determines liquid.  I like to start with just enough to float the sausage and then work from there.  If it's too thick before it reaches a gentle boil then add more.  If it's too think cooking will thicken it.  You want to bring the gravy to a gentle boil before letting it cool to eating temperature in order to ensure it's the right consistency for your preference. 

Let's talk about salt.  With gravy I don't salt while it cooks.  Sometimes the meat and fat have just enough sodium that it's not needed.  Taste your gravy.  If it needs salt add it.  If it's perfect just the way it is then put it away.  Comfort food is about how it tastes and how it makes you feel.  Be comfortable! 

And enjoy!

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