Ruby Lee's Biscuits and Gravy
I learned to bake biscuits from my Big Mama, Ruby Lee. Her cooking was so good that it could cure jet lag. When I was in the Army and would come home from Europe, I would have terrible jet lag. My first morning back, my grandmother would make breakfast, including biscuits and gravy. The smell would literally drag me out of bed. Jet lag cured.
The recipe below is basically her recipe with a few of my own modifications. She used Crisco shortening instead of butter, and she rolled each biscuit out in her hands. I think the butter makes for a much richer biscuit, and I have yet to be able to roll two biscuits of the same size in the palms of my hands. Oh well, she was magic.
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Step 1: Make the Biscuits
- 1/2 stick butter, placed in the freezer for 10–15 minutes
- 2 cups self-rising biscuit flour (White Lilly or Martha White is recommended)
- 1 1/2–2 cups cold buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Put the flour in a large bowl. Using a medium-sized grater, grate the butter into the flour.
- Using your hands, gently work the butter into the flour until it is well incorporated.
- Add 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, then gently fold the buttermilk into the flour/butter mixture. Add more buttermilk as required, folding until the dough just comes together.
- Pour out the biscuit dough onto a lightly floured cutting board. Knead, gently, a few times then shape the dough into a round, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Using a small biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits and place into a lightly greased (I use cooking spray) 8-inch round cake pan. When cutting out the biscuits, lightly flour the cutter, push straight down, then give a quarter turn once the cutter hits the board. Make sure the edges of the biscuits are just touching. Recombine the scraps and continue as above until all of the dough has been used or the pan is full.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the biscuits with buttermilk. Using a pepper grinder, grind about 1/8 tsp of black pepper onto the tops of the biscuits.
- Bake in a 425-degree oven until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown, 8–12 minutes.
Step 2: Make the Gravy
- 1/2 lb. breakfast sausage
- 2 strips bacon
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a skillet or saucepan, brown the bacon and the sausage. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork from the pan. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
- Over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons of reserved fat and 2 tablespoons of flour.
- Stir constantly until the flour turns a nice blond color, about 3–5 minutes.
- Slowly add the buttermilk and the whole milk, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a low boil and reduce heat to low. Add the spices, soy sauce and meat to the gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. You also might need to add a bit more milk to thin the gravy.
- Split open a biscuit and cover both sides with gravy. Enjoy.
© 2017 Daniel Lee Wallace