Some leftover ground pork and David’s hankering for biscuits and gravy motivated the search for this recipe. David recently visited family in Colorado where his grandmother made biscuits and gravy for him, thus prompting his desire to try it for himself. It had been quite some time since we’d made biscuits and gravy, and we’d certainly never made the biscuits from scratch. No time like the present!
adapted from Chow.com
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces uncooked breakfast sausage, casings removed*
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups whole milk
¾ lb ground pork
1-½ tsp fennel seed, ground
2 small allspice berries, ground
Biscuits: Heat oven to 425 F and arrange rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl to aerate and combine. Add the butter pieces and toss to just coat them in the flour mixture. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes. Using a pastry blender, and working quickly so as not to soften the butter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces. Drizzle in the buttermilk and stir until a moist, shaggy dough comes together.
Generously dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. Using floured hands, gently pat the dough into a 1″ thick circle. Using a 2-½” round cutter dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as possible (press straight down through the dough–do not twist the cutter or the biscuits will not rise properly). Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1″ apart. Gather the scraps into a ball, pat into a 1″ thick circle and cut out more biscuits. Bake until biscuits have risen and are golden brown on top, about 15-16 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the gravy.
Gravy: Thoroughly combine all the spices for David’s sausage recipe. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Stir spices into the melted butter. Add the ground pork and cook, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon until the meat is no longer pink and is starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the sausage with flour, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, until the raw taste of the flour has cooked off, about 1 minute.
Gradually stir in the milk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute more (the gravy will continue to thicken as it sits). Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm.
A few notes on preparation: The original recipe called for breakfast sausage (as I’ve noted) but we only had ground pork, so David made his own sausage concoction. We didn’t have whole milk, so we went with our usual half skim milk-half heavy cream mixture.
As a whole, the meal was outstanding! The biscuits turned out fluffy, slightly crunchy on the outside giving way to a moist interior. The sausage mixture that David devised was truly delicious, with just the right amount of flavour and spiciness. It amazingly actually tasted like breakfast sausage (despite David refusing to look up a recipe and just concocting it on the fly). This particular biscuits and gravy combination is definitely one for the books. It made a delicious dinner and will make excellent leftovers for brunch tomorrow!