Fluffy biscuits and sausage gravy
We’re still on the biscuit train, and I make no apologies.
This week’s recipe has the exact same list of ingredients as last week, but both the inside and the outside tell a completely different story from one to the other. I know I go on and on about butter here sometimes, but look at the difference it makes! Thin pieces of cold butter plus a lamination step gives you tall, flaky biscuits with ethereally thin pull-apart layers, but just melting that butter before stirring it in makes the result light, fluffy, and perfectly tender.
I used a pretty neat ATK biscuit trick here: pour the melted butter into cold buttermilk to get little clumps of butter. They will help make pockets of richness and lift in the final biscuit, sort of like getting to the pea-sized lumps of butter stage in pie crust but without all the fuss.
I admit to nibbling on one of these straight from the oven with some of that honey butter from last week, but promise me you’ll save some for the sausage gravy–these guys are made for each other. The secret to a successful gravy lies in a good whisk and a little patience. I add the milk gradually, whisking each glug into the base before adding more to get a nice thick gravy with no lumps.
Then it’s assembly time: fresh biscuit, sausage gravy with just a little spice, runny eggs, plenty of pepper on top. As far as breakfast goes, it doesn’t get much better than this. Add the fact that the sun was actually shining while I ate it, and my happiness is complete.
- 2 c. flour
- 1 T. sugar
- 2½ t. baking powder
- 1 t. salt
- ¼ t. baking soda
- ½ c. butter, cold
- 1 c. buttermilk
- ½ lb. good breakfast sausage, bought in bulk or casings removed
- 2 T. reserved sausage drippings, supplement with butter if needed to reach 2 T.
- 3 T. flour
- 1 ½ c. milk
- ½ t. pepper
- ½ t. dried thyme
- ¼ t. cayenne
- ¼ t. salt
- Make the biscuits: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and butter. The cold buttermilk will cool some of the butter into small clumps—this is a good thing.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Spoon the dough by about ¼-cupfuls onto a baking sheet (you should get 12).
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, until deep golden on the bottom and lightly golden on the top.
- Make the gravy: Cook the sausage over medium heat until no pink remains, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Strain the sausage, leaving the fat in the pan and setting the cooked sausage aside.
- Supplement the sausage drippings with butter if needed to reach 2 tablespoons total fat. Melt the butter, then add the flour and stir well to make a paste. Turn heat down to low and cook until the paste browns slightly, about 4 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, continuing to whisk constantly, until it just starts to bubble. Remove from the heat, stir in the sausage, and add the pepper, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Assemble the biscuits and gravy: Split a biscuit in half and top with a generous spoonful of gravy. Throw an egg or two on top if you’re feeling fancy, or just dig in!
Biscuits adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.