Biscuits & Gravy
About this Recipe
This is the perfect hangover meal, mid-winter reprieve, and overall comfort food. If you're looking for something filling, satisfying, and protein-rich, look no further!
Brown breakfast sausage; add garlic
Remove meat with a slotted spoon (see note)
Add flour and butter to grease in pan; mix well and cook for ~5 minutes
Add milk in a slow stream; stir until smooth
Simmer for 5+ minutes to desired thickness
Cut heat; add pepper, salt, paprika, sage
Add sausage back to pan, stir well
Serve atop two halved, open face biscuits
Photos by Step...
Measure your milk and set it aside on the counter, to warm a bit while you otherwise follow this recipe
In a skillet over medium-high heat, crumble and brown the breakfast sausage. When the meat is cooked through and has browned to your liking, add the minced garlic to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes longer.
Remove the sausage from the skillet, but keep the grease in the pan! You can skip this step, but your sauce could potentially thicken too quickly or take a bit longer to thicken on the heat.
Turn the heat down to medium
Note the amount of grease left in the pan-- measure if necessary by pouring into a Pyrex measuring cup, and then add 2 Tbsp butter (to provide you with an accurate volume of liquid fat in your gravy, if you want to get your flour proportions just right) and return to the skillet, over medium heat. How many tablespoons of oil and butter were there collectively? This is how many tablespoons of flour you need. Did you skip that step? I don't blame you, I'm sure 1/4 cup of flour will work perfectly fine, either way! Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until dry flour is no longer visible and the butter and oil start to caramelize-- about 3-4 minutes (see note)
Add the milk in a slow stream, stirring constantly until the mixture is homogenous. (see note)
Bring the mixture to a simmer, so it's just bubbling continuously all around the pan, stirring often. You can add a few cracks of pepper at this point, but you don't have to. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, or until the desired thickness has been reached. Return crumbled sausage to pan and give a good stir
Remove pan from heat and stir in salt, pepper, paprika, and chopped sage. Have a taste, and if you're happy with the levels of salt and spice, you're done!
Serve atop halved, open-face buttermilk biscuits.
More about this recipe
What are biscuits and gravy?
Biscuits and gravy, a classic when it comes to southern comfort food, is a dish I've (personally) only seen in diners and hotel restaurants. Obviously, I'm not a Southern girl, although I envy some of the serious kitchen talent I've watched from a distance. You will recognize this dish by the highly-visible specks of coarse-ground pepper floating throughout the sauce, its pretty, amber hue (I suppose from any caramelizing in the grease and butter, along with the streaks of paprika and deep grey pepper specks stirred throughout this particular recipe). This sauce has chunks of crumbled breakfast sausage stirred throughout, which I personally appreciate over a sausage patty, but to each their own! One more notable thing that gives this dish away (at least for me): SAGE. Whether you add it dried, fresh, or in the form of sage-sausage, it's truly THE defining flavor (is it just me?). It adds a touch of warm earthiness, offsetting the creaminess of the bechamel, the nutty richness of the sausage grease and butter, and the sharpness of the pepper with a deep "softness" I've found unique to sage. I'm sure I sound crazy right now, but I've only recently really paid attention to those fuzzy little leaves, and they fascinate me.
This gravy is also *very* commonly made by straining out the sausage and leaving it out, slowly adding milk, whisking constantly, just until you reach the thickness you desire. It thickens more as it cools, which is even more significant if you'll be saving any leftovers. You can always thin your gravy out with a little more milk if you take the heat a little too far. This sausage-less gravy is perfect to pour over chicken fried steak.
In the past two years, my brother-in-law proclaimed that "biscuits and gravy" is one of the few dishes he's capable of making. I, on the other hand, have plenty of experience with a decent range of other foods, but I couldn't even tell you (at the time) what goes into making biscuits and gravy. Moving along, it's now Christmas tradition for my family to have his biscuits and gravy--so naturally, two years into it, I suddenly have to turn it into a competition. Sorry, bro. Hopefully, it's received as a compliment, you've launched me into eating an excessive amount of this coma-inducing dish with the hope that I'll unlock some secret to getting it just right, then bring it to you (with love) and hope I'm not the annoying copy-cat sister I was to your wife when I was 4!
*queue hyper-focus... buffering*
I will note that not everybody removes the meat before adding flour to the pan. On the contrary, about half of the recipes I saw called for adding the flour right on top of the meat and stirring well. Whether this makes a significant difference is a mystery for now, but I will edit this if I make any worthwhile discoveries!
If you're wondering what part sage plays in this recipe, or how it's different from bechamel, I'll offer my two cents. Sage gives this dish the distinguishing flavor profile that sets it apart from bechamel sauce (well, that and the pepper.. and lack of nutmeg... technically). But sage, in particular, offers a very specific depth of earthy goodness that is difficult to describe. I was hesitant to add it after smelling the freshly cut leaves, convinced that the flavors couldn't possibly marry well, but I trusted the process. In the end, my mind was blown. This is absolutely the cherry on top for me. If you don't want to spend the extra money on fresh sage, you can actually buy sage-breakfast sausage! We live in a world of conveniences, I'm sure of that much.
If you have any favored variations, tips, or tricks, please add them to the comment section below or start a thread in the forum!