Barefoot In The Kitchen : Biscuits & Sawmill Gravy

Biscuits and gravy may not translate to everyone anymore than British beans and toast does to most of us but it’s absolutely a staple of life to the southern breakfast table. My great grandmother was born to English immigrant’s so we have eaten beans on toast…. deep southern style, with pinto beans and it was enjoyable though traditional Navy beans have never been a personal favorite of mine in any fashion. This has caused a number of debates between the hubs and I.  He says they’re a southern dish and others may agree but he’s from Missouri.

I have found since moving here that Missouri is a divided state therefore the cuisine is a funky mixture of southern and yankee. ( Yes, I get where to some we are all considered yanks. Lol) So, I hold that his perception is invalid.  (I, myself, am from Corpus Christi Texas. There’s no denying I’m southern.) An example of this is white bread dressing / stuffing.  No self respecting southerner would EVER make that atrocity!  Cornbread dressing all the way!

While the history of biscuits and gravy pre-dates the revolutionary war, it certainly lent to survival during the great depression and remains a frugal breakfast item even today.  In the depression era, this was made with the minimal staples that were already on hand, lard, flour, salt, milk or water.  During a time where one couldn’t afford to waste ANYTHING, it was a great way to use leftover biscuits and small remnants of meat, providing a stomach filling meal to the typically large family.

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Basic Biscuits                                                            Ingredients

3 cups All-purpose Flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons Cold butter or shortening

1 cup milk (use whole milk for the most tender biscuits)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Mix together the dry ingredients. With two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse bread crumbs.

Add the milk all at once, mixing quickly and gently for about 20 seconds until you have a soft dough.

Pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4″ thick on a lightly floured surface.  Fold it into thirds like a letter and roll gently with a floured rolling pin until the dough is 3/4″ thick again.

Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter, a drinking glass or jar. You can also  avoid leftover dough by cutting the dough into squares with a  knife. Brush the tops of the biscuits with milk (whole) or melted butter, to enhance browning.

Bake the biscuits for 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re lightly browned. Remove them from the oven, and serve warm.

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Sawmill Gravy                                                            Ingredients

1 pound bulk breakfast sausage

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

Salt and pepper

Directions
Cook sausage in a skillet. (I like cast Iron for many things. You can’t beat the flavor but any will do.) When done, remove sausage from pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. (If it doesn’t leave enough, add oil, butter, shortening or bacon grease to make up the measurement.) Whisk flour into the fat and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until it foems a bubbly froth. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk a little at a time. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer and thickens, add salt and pepper to taste. (Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan, that’s where the flavor is.) Check seasoning, add crumbled sausage and serve over toast or biscuits.

 

 

 

 

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20 comments

  1. Really interesting!
    On my last visit to the states I tried biscuits and gravy but I honestly could not get my head around it. Biscuits to me should be sweet and never eaten with gravy lol. Yorkshire pudding and gravy on the other hand is fine. Isn’t it weird how our taste buds get used to certain foods?! 😊❤️

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  2. Wow, that was interesting. The ‘biscuits’ sound very similar to what I know as scones in Australia/NZ (supposedly from the UK, but ours may have varied in the years since the recipe was transported 😉).
    And what you call ‘gravy’, we’d call ‘savoury mince’, only we’d throw in some onion and diced veges with some mixed herbs and a dash of possibly Worcestershire sauce for piquancy. Wouldn’t have thought to eat it with scones though, as we tend to prefer to eat them with the traditional British ‘jam and cream’. I guess dumplings would be a close resemblance.
    On this cool morning you’ve got me hungry for some of that comfort food now! Yum

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    • Yes!!! I think you may be quite right concerning scones! Typically here in the US, scones are sweet and madevwith fruits, nuts and very dense, hard and grease full things that I don’t care for at all. I gave them a go while in Ireland andvthey were very light and fluffy much like we call a biscuit! Did eat them with cream and jam Delicious!
      Now, I’m liking the idea of a savoury mince! Again, that sounds divine! There are 2 schools of thought here on dumplings. In the northern states, they’ll drop pieces of biscuit dough into a boiling pot of soup or stew. In the south, we make a thick dough that is rolled out thickly and cut into wide strips or squares. They form a fat fluffy noodle. Many will also drop these “noodles” into a simmering pot blackberries. Sounds retched, and doesn’t necessarily look any better but is oddly a delightful dessert. Lol
      Aren’t cold days just perfect for the comfort foods that warm the soul? 😊

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  3. Half of my family, me included, is from Missouri and I cannot count how many times I’ve eaten this dish! It’s such a comfort food. ❤️ I grew up a military child and anytime we ate it I would be reminded of home in Missouri. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I ate biscuits and gravy for breakfast in North Carolina whilst on a school trip from the UK (I am a beans-on-toast-loving Brit)…they were absolutely divine and I have always wanted to be able to recreate them!

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