December

December

October 28, 2012

A Seasonal Morning


“Imagine a morning in late November.
A coming-of-winter morning more than twenty years ago. "


"Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town."


 "A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar."~ A Christmas Memory




SAUSAGE GRAVY AND BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 t. baking powder
1 t.  salt
1/2 t. baking soda
8 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup buttermilk

SAUSAGE GRAVY
3 T. unsalted butter
12 ounces breakfast sausage
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt, plus more as needed
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
3 1/2 cups whole milk

Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.Whisk the measured flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl to aerate and combine. Add the butter pieces and toss to just coat them in the flour mixture. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, and working quickly so as not to soften the butter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces. Drizzle in the buttermilk and stir just until a moist, shaggy dough comes together.
Generously dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. Using floured hands, gently pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick circle.

Using a 2-1/2-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as possible (press straight down through the dough—do not twist the cutter, or the biscuits will not rise properly). Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps into a ball, pat it into a 1-inch-thick circle, and cut out more biscuits. Repeat as needed until you have 8 total. Discard any remaining dough.

Bake until the biscuits have risen and are golden brown on top, about 15 to 16 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the gravy.

The Gravy
Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until it’s no longer pink and is starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle with the flour, measured salt, measured pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, until the raw taste of the flour has cooked off, about 1 minute.

Gradually stir in the milk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute more (the gravy will continue to thicken as it sits). Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm. To serve, split the biscuits in half horizontally and top with the sausage gravy.



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