Sat 23 Feb 2013
A decadent staple brekky in our global repertoire of extravagance is bacon & eggs, biscuits & gravy. My Dad is from Alabama, and taught my Mama (from Oregon) to make this when they were first together, then pretty much never cooked anything ever again, except a mean barbecue.
In Australia, when I say ‘biscuits & gravy’, people say ‘what in the world are you talking about?’ And having had two requests for my biscuit recipe this week alone, I figured it’s time to share, especially since we’ve recently been enjoying ours with the first Jonai Farms ethical bacon, which ups the nom factor considerably. We much prefer ethical diets over calorie-counting ones around here…
American-style biscuits are roughly what Australians would call scones – usually more like drop scones. Today I made our biscuits with the divine buttermilk from the Butter Factory in Myrtleford. I resisted buttering the biscuits with some of Naomi’s truffle butter as well, figuring the gravy was enough. Normally, though, I use the yoghurt we make weekly with milk from the dairy on the other side of our volcano. And as we now buy our flour from Powlett Hill about 30km from us, this is serious locavore food.
All measurements are approximate, depending on the weather, your mood, and your desired moistness and yoghurty goodness…
1tspn baking soda
1C yoghurt (or buttermilk, in which case you’ll reduce the milk quantity)
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Either oil a baking tray or line it with baking paper.
Mix the baking soda and salt into the flour. Cut butter into the flour. Add yoghurt (or buttermilk) and mix with a rubber spatula, then add milk to the right consistency. Think ‘drop scone’ dough…
Spoon out the amount of dough for the size biscuit you prefer – in our house, that’s usually about the size of my palm or a little smaller. Make sure they’re relatively equal in size so they cook evenly.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven. I usually turn them around mid-way through cooking as my oven is hotter at the back than the front.
The best gravy is made from bacon grease (otherwise it’s really just bechamel!). In the American South, there’s a huge variety of gravies, from a straight millk gravy through to one introduced to me by the gorgeous Gabriel in Oxford, Mississippi – red gravy - which is made with tomatoes. The core ingredient seems to pretty much always be bacon grease. The simplest though, and the one we make the most often, is the one Dad taught Mama to make when they were first married.
Bacon grease – however much you end up with after making bacon for brekky (or about 1T if you’ve saved it in a jar, which is also Doing It Right)
2C milk (pre-warmed in the microwave)
Salt & pepper to taste
While the bacon grease is still hot in the pan from makin’ bacon, add flour and stir until it browns lightly. Add warmed milk and stir continuously with a whisk until it thickens. Season to taste. Serve in a jug or bowl with ladle – your choice.
In our house, some of us like to break up our biscuits and pour the gravy over the top. Others pour the gravy on whole biscuits, and some of us even break up our bacon and sprinkle it through the biscuits and gravy. Personal preference rules! We almost never have biscuits and gravy if we aren’t having bacon and eggs – these things are made to be eaten together!
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- Camp cooking, cast iron style