Monday, 8 July 2013

Biscuits, gravy...what???

If you are a sports fan and British (or nearly British after having lived in this country most of your adult life as in my case), yesterday was a fantastic day: Britain's Andy Murray won the Wimbledon tennis championships (the first British male in 77 years) and for just a brief moment, nothing else mattered. Yes, there are more important things in life but it was just so lovely to see someone achieve their dream - heartwarming stuff :-)

Talking of heartwarming stuff, there are some dishes that are just so comforting and satisfying, they deserve a special mention.  For me a great example of this is biscuits and gravy which I tried for the first time during our recent trip to the US.  Now, I was a little confused as biscuits here are what I guess other countries would call "cookies", so having those with gravy was not exactly on the top of my breakfast wishlist.  Once I realised though that biscuits are what we call scones and the gravy a type of savoury white sauce, it made more sense.  I tried it, loved it and promised to recreate it at home.  So that's what I did this weekend and we were very happy with the result :-)  I "slimmed down" the recipe a little by omitting the bacon fat. 

A great dish for brunch/lunch or a small evening meal - filling and satisfying and whilst I am sure there are hundreds of variations and handed down recipes for this around, I hope that this version is acceptable :-)

Biscuits and gravy (serves 4)

For the biscuits/scones (makes 8):
300 g self-rising flour
60 g butter
250 ml buttermilk or milk

  1. Preheat oven to 240 C (fan oven)
  2. In a mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Blend in the buttermilk or milk with fork just until the dough comes together (it will be sticky).
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for a minute or so (do not overwork the dough).
  5. Roll the dough to roughly 1 inch thickness and either cut into 8 squares/pieces with a knife or use a 2-inch round cutter.
  6. Place the biscuits on baking sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

For the sausage gravy (sauce):

4 - 5 good quality sausages, casings/skins removed
a little butter
30 g plain flour
500 ml milk (you might need less or a bit more, depending on how thick you want the sauce to be - simply add a little at a time until you have it the way you want it)
salt & black pepper

  1. Remove the sausage meat from the casing and in a large heavy frying pan (preferably cast iron), brown the meat over medium high heat.  You are looking for a crumbly texture a bit like when you fry mince meat.
  2. Add a little butter, flour, salt and pepper and continue to cook (stirring constantly) until the flour begins to brown.
  3. Now start adding milk, still stirring continuously until you have the consistency you like for the sauce.

Cut the biscuits in half and pour over some gravy.  Enjoy!

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