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.
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)
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.
Sawmill Gravy Ingredients
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
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.