Homemade Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

20160101_101027_Brooke-baking-biscuitsOne of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try a new recipe at least once a week, and what better time to start than New Year’s Day?

My newly engaged fiance and I stopped at the grocery store yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, which actually wasn’t as bad as you’d imagine. We needed horseradish and ketchup to make cocktail sauce for shrimp, as well as milk and bacon for breakfast. In the breakfast meat section of the store, he spotted some ground sausage, and offered to make sausage gravy for brunch on New Year’s Day. With the addition of orange juice and champagne for mimosas, and Lucky Charms (‘just this once’) for good luck, we had the ingredients for a proper New Year’s Brunch.

Our first engaged New Year’s Eve was memorable without being rowdy. After a few shopping errands together, we grabbed burgers before heading to 16 Bit Bar+Arcade for some video games, where we drove virtual race cars, shot virtual moose and bear, rescued the princess from Donkey Kong, and smashed some mushrooms as Mario.

With one hour left in the night – and the year – we hailed an Uber and headed to a party bar on the west end of town. Multiple bars indoors and out, live bands and DJs, plus no cover charge meant the place was packed with lots of young, drunk, insufficiently-clad hoards. We made one full loop through the grounds (which consisted of elbowing our way through the aforementioned drunk, loud crowd) and quickly decided this was not our scene. We Ubered back home and rang in the New Year together on the couch sipping champagne…Much better.

For brunch the next morning, he kept his promise to make sausage gravy. Then I realized I didn’t have any quick biscuits in a tube, and to be honest, I kind of suspected that when we were at the grocery store yesterday, but I have always wanted to make my own. What better time than today, I thought, to make biscuits from scratch, and to start working toward one of my resolutions. I knew I could trust Paula Deen for my first time, so I found her basic biscuit recipe here. We ate a small bowl of Lucky Charms to christen 2016 with good luck, and to hold our stomachs over while I started baked biscuits for our New Year’s Brunch of Biscuits and Gravy.

Homemade Biscuit Recipehomemade biscuits from scratch

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients. (Some would recommend sifting here, but I don’t have time or tools for such things when brunch is waiting.) Cut in cubed butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal (which takes a few minutes, a little elbow grease, and a handheld pastry blender). Make a well in the middle of the mixture and slowly add milk, stirring often and kneading lightly at the end to combine dough into one ball.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Her recipe doesn’t say how thick to roll the dough, so I had to experiment to learn that you want to roll it at least an inch thick, and even thicker, almost like the biscuits that come in a can. I used the top rim of a glass to cut out biscuits, or you can use a round cookie cutter or, ideally, a biscuit cutter.
She bakes them in a skillet; I used my trusty baking stone from Pampered Chef. Her recipe didn’t include baking time or temperature for a conventional oven. I heated my oven to about 375, and it ended up closer to 400 because it tends to run hot. Bake for 12-14 minutes. These biscuits don’t really brown; they are lighter than the golden brown color that come from the can, so watch them closely. When the bottoms are brown and you can’t leave ‘thumbprints’ when you press on the tops, remove from the heat.

20160101_111616_Sausage-Gravy-Biscuits-and-MimosasHomemade Maple Sausage Gravy 

While I made these, my fiance made maple sausage gravy. He browned a pound of maple sausage in the skillet on med-high, adding seasoning salt and fresh ground black pepper. Then he sprinkled approximately 1/2 cup of flour over the meat, which absorbs to make a crumbly meat mixture. He slowly added approximately 1-1 1/2 cups milk, stirring, adding up to 1/3 cup more flour as needed to desired consistency. I emphasize “approximately” because he doesn’t really measure anything, he just adds until it’s right (which is one of the reasons I love him – a man who can cook!) You do want to make it thinner because it will thicken as it continues to cook (which was about another 12-15 minutes, as I baked a second, thicker batch of biscuits). He added some red pepper flakes to spice it up a little more. The maple sausage does make it taste sweeter and richer, which makes it delicious!

Maple Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

To put it all together, he cracked the biscuits in half and spooned the sausage gravy over them. Enjoy with mimosas, as we did for our New Year’s Brunch.

The gravy freezes really well, so we put all the leftovers (which was a quart-size container full) directly into the freezer for the future. This is good for us because we only allow ourselves to this indulgent breakfast splurge a few times a year. I’ll admit that, while this recipe helped my resolution of trying new recipes, it may have violated another resolution of mine: to fit into a single-digit wedding dress, and look damn good in it….but at least this tasted damn good as an indulgent way to celebrate a New Year and a new life together with my man!

P.S. Mimosas

We found this dry sparkling wine, the Blanc de Blancs from Anna de Codorniu, a blend of 70% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada and 15% Xarel-Lo, Macabeu. I don’t know what most of those words mean but we were enchanted by the classy white label covering the bottle, and the contents didn’t disappoint. This cava was delicious alone, and even better paired with OJ for mimosas. Highly recommend!

Cheers to making 2016 the best year ever! 

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