Sausage Gravy and Homemade Biscuits

Not something I make for everyday breakfast, but it sure hits the spot on a weekend when the day is going to be full of activities and we all need something substantial to get us going! Here's how I make mine.

Homemade Drop Biscuits

The key to good biscuits is having the cold ingredients really cold and not handling the dough too much. This is why I usually make drop biscuits instead of rolling mine out. The longer the butter stays cold in the dough before you put it in the oven to bake, the flakier your biscuits will be. Too much handling means tough biscuits!

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
dash salt
1/4 cup butter or shortening
3/4 to 1 cup of kefir milk or buttermilk or regular milk

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients together or sift them together. Cut butter into small chunks and incorporate into the dry ingredients with a pastry knife until the butter is smaller than a pea, but not as fine as cornmeal. Add your liquid and stir until the dough is still a little firm, but will drop from a Tablespoon.

Drop the dough by large Tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven until browned to your liking. I bake mine 15-20 minutes, because I like mine crispy on the bottoms.

While the biscuits are baking, I make the sausage gravy~

Sausage Gravy

1 pound sausage ~ I use our M4-D Ranch Beef Sausage
2-3 Tablespoons flour
1-1 1/2 cups milk
salt to taste
pepper to taste

I brown my sausage in a large cast iron skillet until done. Remove sausage from the skillet and set aside. With our sausage, it cooks very lean, so there is usually not a whole lot of grease left in the pan. But you need some grease to mix in with the sausage crumblings left in the skillet to make the roux for your gravy base. So, with our sausage, I usually have to add about a Tablespoon of bacon grease in order to have enough. You need about 1-2 Tablespoons of drippings from cooking the sausage to make a skillet full of gravy.

I add about 1 1/2 times the amount of flour to the pan that I have in drippings - I want a dryish "paste" to brown for my gravy base - this is called the roux. For the photos below, I added about 2-3 Tablespoons of flour. Just add your flour in a little at a time until and incorporate into the the drippings until you have a fairly thick consistency.

Brown the roux. The darker you brown your roux, the darker your gravy will be after you add your milk. I like my gravy pretty browned, so I cook it until the roux is very dark. There are no rules - just make it the color you want it and remember that when you add the milk it will lighten.

Once your roux is the desired color, add your milk all at one time. Whisk well to prevent lumps over medium heat. Continue to whisk and cook at boiling to allow the gravy to thicken. Cook until it is the thickness you desire, again there are no hard rules to follow. Make your gravy as thick as you want. If you added a little too much milk, it will thicken, but might take a little longer cooking time. Don't forget to add your salt and pepper to taste.

Once your gravy is the thickness you desire, add the sausage back in and heat it well.

Next, plate your biscuits, cut them open and spoon the gravy over the top - YUM!

When I was growing up, we'd have this kind of "milk gravy" just about any time my mom made a meal with fried meat ~ fried chicken, fried pork chops, country fried steak - it was good! The steps are always the same - cook your meat, leave some drippings, add flour and brown to make a roux, stir in your milk and heat until thick. A southern staple!

Here are the steps in photos - first for the biscuits, then for the gravy:

Dry ingredients for the biscuits

Butter and pastry knife

Notice the dough has some "stickiness" too it. Not firm enough to roll out, but not thin enough to run off the spoon.

Biscuits going into the oven

Biscuits out of the oven

Beef sausage in cast iron pan

Sausage as it is browning

Flour added to drippings to form the roux.

Roux is browning over medium heat.

Milk added to the browned roux.

Bringing the mixture to a full boil to thicken.

When thick, the sausage is added back in and heated.