As far as late-night texts go, I think my favorite one that I have ever received was one that I got last week saying simply ‘I want you to make biscuits and gravy.’ That put a big ol’ smile on my face. The text was from my college buddy, Sasha, who I met during incidents which probably involved running from the campus police in the wee hours of the morning. Since then we have both matured a little bit and now are successfully impersonating real adults; adults who happen to indulge themselves with somewhat gratuitous foodie talk when the mood strikes.
As a Texan, I’m quite partial to biscuits with a delicious, peppery, white gravy and was all to happy to indulge my friend’s request; this post will have to suffice until he comes to visit me this winter and I can make it for him for real!
This meal is also an homage to my favorite spot to get diner breakfast at the Red Hut here in Tahoe. They serve ‘The Usual,’ which is biscuits with sausage gravy, hash browns and two eggs, all for dirt cheap. I love this breakfast so much that I crave it for dinner too! If you ever find yourself in South Lake or Stateline, I would highly recommend stopping into the Red Hut on Kingsbury Grade, it’s usually got a few less tourists than their other locations. All the firemen on my sweetie’s crew like to go here on winter mornings if they need a good stick-to-your-ribs breakfast before work, so I doubt you’ll ever leave there hungry.
Flaky Country Biscuits -this recipe is adapted from Chef Scott’s recipe, my instructor for baking and pastry at Le Cordon Bleu, it is excellent with cheddar cheese in it too!
Makes 6 large biscuits – cost approx $.96 per batch or $.16 per biscuit
- 9 1/2 oz All Purpose flour ($.30)
- 1/2 oz salt
- 1/2 oz baking powder
- 3/4 oz sugar
- 3 1/4 oz cold butter, cut into small cubes ($.20)
- 6 1/2 oz milk or buttermilk ($.13)
- 1 large egg ($.10)
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix all dry ingredients, then smoosh the butter in with your fingers or a pastry cutter until all pieces are smaller than a pea and the mixture is a little mealy looking. Beat the egg and milk (or buttermilk) together then mix into the dry ingredients, knead gently until a loose dough forms. If the dough is still sticky, add a little more flour. Gently roll out the dough and fold it in thirds, wrap in plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 15-30 min. After the dough is cooled, roll it out and fold it into thirds again, then put it back in the fridge. Repeating the rolling and folding procedure helps make the biscuits flaky. When you’re ready to bake, roll the dough out to about a 1/2 inch thick and cut into six even squares. (I like squares because that way there’s no wasted dough.) Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious. ***I live at altitude, so my baking time may be different from yours, so check often because there’s nothing worse than a burned biscuit!*** Also, If you’re making the whole breakfast, you can bake your potatoes with the biscuits ahead of time like a clever cook 😉
The Usual – Biscuits with sausage gravy, hashbrowns and two eggs
Serves 2 – cost approx $.77 per serving
- 8 oz breakfast sausage ($0 I got it for free with coupons!)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk ($.32)
- salt and black pepper
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground sage
- 1 lb potatoes, baked ($.25)
- 4 eggs – cook these however you like them best, whether that’s scrambled till they bounce, runny yolk fried goodness or anywhere in between! ($.40)
- 2 Flaky Country Biscuits ($.32)
Cook the sausage over medium heat in a cast iron or sturdy sauce pan and crumble them into bite size pieces. Cook until browned and the fat has rendered then remove the sausages. Add the flour to the fat and whisk for a few minutes to cook the rouix. Next, whisk in the milk, making sure there are no lumps. Season with the salt and black pepper, nutmeg and sage, when it comes to a gentle simmer, add back the sausage. This is quite happy to simmer on the back burner while you’re making the hashbrowns and eggs, if it gets too thick you can always whisk in a little water to thin it out.
As for the hashbrowns, I’ve yet to perfect the recipe but this has worked best for me so far. (If you’re a fan of frozen hashbrowns, by all means use them instead.) Heat a non-stick pan on medium high, coat with some sort of spray oil, such as PAM. Grate the potatoes on the larger holes on your box grater and put into the hot pan. Now, and this is the hard part, just leave them be for 5 whole minutes! It’s physically impossible to not touch them, so I try to just limit myself to poking at the edges and shaking the pan to make sure they’re not sticking. Perhaps it’s my impatience keeping me from the perfect hashbrowns… Really, go fold some laundry, or unload the dishes or something. When it’s all browned and cohesive, flip the potatoes gently with a spatula and let them be undisturbed for another 5 minutes. Season with salt. Something good to keep your mind off touching the potatoes would be cooking the eggs now.
Yay, now it’s time to assemble, get out your favorite hot sauce, and dig in!