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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday Recipe - Biscuits'n'Gravy

I stayed up far too late last night writing a new story. I wasn't planning on it. The idea for the title came to me during a chat. I fell in love with it but didn't know what to do or where the story was going, so I typed the title and left it while I finished chatting with friends. A while later the idea for an opening line slipped into my head. I added that. Before I knew it, the story was taking shape and I didn't want to stop. Then it was almost midnight and I was typing the end. I love it when that happens, although it wreaks havoc on my sleep schedule and makes it hard to get up for work the next morning.

What does that have to do with biscuits and gravy?

The older I get, the more things get difficult. I'm not ancient, not by a long shot, but I have enough health problems I may as well be in a rocking chair with my knitting. Except I don't own a rocking chair and I can't knit to save my life. So staying up late, something I would have never thought twice about when I didn't have to be up to go to work, becomes a rare event. Midnight comes and goes while I sleep. And biscuits and gravy no longer happen at my house.

I love sausage, but I can't have MSG and bulk sausage without MSG is very hard to find. I've also become very lactose intolerant, so milk no longer is part of my diet. And since I have issues with my blood sugar and insulin, white biscuits don't happen, either, and whole wheat biscuits just don't taste the same.

So, here is one of my favorite breakfasts. I shall drool and live vicariously through the recipe. And in case you are wondering, no, I'm not Southern. My mom introduced this recipe to me. Her mom used to make it for her. I can still smell it cooking in her big old cast iron frying pan.

Biscuits and Gravy

1 lb bulk sausage
1/3 c. flour
3 c. milk
salt to taste
cracked pepper to taste
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. shortening
1/4 c. real butter, softened
3/4 c. milk

Cook sausage in large frying pan, breaking it up into smaller chunks. When sausage is brown, remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Cover and set aside. Drain off grease, reserving about a third of a cup in the pan. Add 1/3 c. flour to grease. Cook and stir until the mix makes a smooth paste and is bubbly. Add 3 c. milk a little at a time, stirring constantly to keep from forming lumps. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook and stir for one more minute. Add in sausage. Add salt and plenty of pepper, to taste. Cover and set aside to keep warm.

Heat oven to 400° F. Mix 2 c. flour, 1 T. sugar, 1 t. salt, and 2 t. baking powder in large mixing bowl. Add shortening and butter. Mash around with a fork until mixture resembles corn meal or fine crumbs. Add milk and stir just enough to mix together. If it's not sticky, carefully pat out and cut out biscuits, placing on a greased baking sheet. If it is sticky, scoop it onto the sheet in lumps of about 1/4 c. I know it's traditional to roll it out, but the drop version are really easy and just as tasty. They don't flake, though, so if that's important to you, add just enough milk to make a soft dough.

Bake biscuits at 400° F for 12 - 15 minutes, just until nicely brown.

Serve gravy over hot biscuits with more cracked pepper sprinkled over the top. Savor the moment and enjoy it for me. I really wish I were eating biscuits and gravy this morning instead of my healthy oatmeal. *sigh*