Sunday, July 25, 2010

Biscuits and Gravy

In the States, especially in the South, Biscuits and Gravy is a very popular breakfast food. If I were to mention "biscuits" in Egypt, that would mean something more like a cookie. This is something that originated from British culture, but the American biscuit is very similar to the British scone. It is a pretty easy meal to make, not to mention that it is also very inexpensive, and all of the ingredients are staples usually kept in all kitchens.

I'm probably a little prejudice, but my Mom makes the best biscuits and gravy I have ever tasted. Now, while this meal is fairly easy and inexpensive, if you make the biscuits from scratch it can take a while. One thing that can make this meal even quicker is that here in the States we have canned biscuits. Now don't get me wrong, homemade biscuits from scratch are always the best, but there are some brands of canned biscuits that are really good.

It's kind of sad that I have only had biscuits and gravy once since we have been back, and that was at a restaraunt. If you have never had biscuits and gravy, you should give it a try. I have supplied the recipes below.

Biscuit Recipe:
*2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
*2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar (optional)
*1/2 cup (113 grams) cold butter, cut into small pieces
*3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
*1 large egg, lightly beaten

*1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (use pastry blender, two knives, or fingertips). Add the milk and slightly beaten egg and stir until just combined. (The texture should be sticky, moist and lumpy.)

Place mixture on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently until it comes together and is a smooth dough.

Roll out dough to 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thickness. Cut out biscuits with a lightly floured round cookie cutter. Place on prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with the beaten egg and milk mixture and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the biscuit comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter.

Makes about 12 3-inch (7.5 cm) biscuits.

*5 tbsp. unsalted butter
*4 tbsp. all purpose flour
*Approximately 2 cups milk (vitamin D milk, not skim, fat-free, fat-less, or other, and nothing heavier, it won’t work.)
*Freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add flour and combine. Add ¼ tsp salt and around 10 grinds pepper.

Stir until the flower is about the color of peanut butter and smells nutty. Add ½ of the milk and increase heat to medium.

Allow to come to a simmer, stirring constantly to avoid sticking. On the first run, the gravy is likely to nearly seize, be ready with more milk.

Add milk by quarter or half cups until gravy has thickened considerably. If using a whisk you’ll know the gravy is ready when drawing the whisk through the gravy leaves “tracks” from the wires that remain visible for at least 5 seconds.

Add at least 10 more grinds pepper and another pinch of salt, to taste.

Recipe can be doubled if needed.


If you like your gravy with a kick, feel free to add a dash of cayenne powder or ground chili. You may also add cooked sausage, or ground beef.

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