Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tall Boy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

A few months ago, the highly acclaimed Asheville restaurant, Tupelo Honey Cafe, opened a new location in Knoxville.  

Alexis and I stopped by for breakfast a while back.  If I had to describe it in just a phrase it would be "Southern comfort food meets Appalachian hipster" (in a good way).  It was difficult to choose from the enticing menu options but I choose the Chicken and Biscuits.

Some of the best fried chicken I've had in Knoxville.
Man oh man, was that was "shut your mouth" good.  The crispy fried chicken breast on top of their signature scratch biscuits and a creamy milk gravy were phenomenal.  But this isn't a review, just background for this morning's breakfast.  

This morning, a cold, wet snow was falling and I had a serious craving for some Southern comfort food.  I thought about that chicken and biscuits.   I didn't have any fried chicken, so instead I went with sausage gravy and homemade biscuits.  

The original recipe was supposed to yield 8 biscuits but the first time I made these, I cut them too thick and only got six.  The result was biscuits that cooked up so tall, they topple and fall over.  This was a happy accident because they were perfect for splitting in half for gravy biscuits!  We've done it that way on purpose since then.  Trevor calls them "tall boy biscuits". 

Still steaming hot!
Tall Boy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)
    For the Tall Boy Biscuits
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 lb unsalted butter, cut into 8 Tbsp portions
    • 3/4 cup whole milk
    • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
    For the Sausage Gravy
    • 12 oz bulk breakfast sausage
    • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 cup half and half
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
    • pinch kosher salt
    For the Tall Boy Biscuits
    1. Toss flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add 7 Tbsp of the butter. Run the mixer on medium-low (3-4 on a Kitchenaid standmixer) until the butter is cut into pea sized pieces.
    2. Add the milk and mix until the dough comes together and pulls from the side.
    3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 5" x 8" rectangle about 1" thick. Fold one third over the center, fold the other third over that and roll back out into another 5" x 8" rectangle. The Food Network recipe compares it to folding a letter but with the advent of email, that is almost an antiquated reference. Repeat 3-5 times.
    4. Use a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter and cut out 4 to 6 circles that are 1" thick. You will have to regather the dough scraps and roll back out for the last 1 or two biscuits. Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking tray.
    5. Melt the last Tbsp of butter and mix with the cream. Brush on top of the biscuits.
    6. Bake the biscuits at 450f for 15-18 minutes until they are golden brown. They will expand and topple, don't worry.
    For the Sausage Gravy
    1. Brown the sausage in a wide pan, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Remove the cooked sausage to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease in the pan.
    2. You need about 2 Tbsp of grease in the pan. Lean sausages may leave less than that, add some bacon fat or butter if needed. Whisk in the flour until it forms a light roux, about one minute.
    3. Whisk in about 1/3 cup of the milk and whisk until the roux is blended with the milk (10-15 seconds). Repeat 2 more times until all the milk is incorporated into the gravy. Now you can whisk in all of the half and half, pepper, cayenne, and salt at once. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
    4. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 2-4 minutes.
    5. Stir in the sausage.
    6. Split the biscuits in half and top with the sausage gravy.
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    Make sure they start off at least 1" tall.


    So good and filling that I didn't even have to eat lunch today!