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It’s A Gravy Situation

November 6, 2011

Just in time for the holidays, here’s the starter post for the Holiday Favorites collection: recipes for the fall/winter holiday overload of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

First off, two of the most beloved Thanksgiving sides that make a perfect breakfast when combined: biscuits and gravy.

It’s probably easier to start with the biscuits.  The amounts in the pictures will not be representative, as I scaled down the recipe to a half; the amounts given are for the full size batch.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/3 cup shortening.

Ingredients

Ingredients

With a pastry blender or a fork, work the shortening into the dough until it resembles coarse crumbs; then slowly add 3/4 cups of milk, still blending with the fork, to form a moist and sticky dough.  Turn it out to a floured surface to knead.

Dough

Sticky! But it will get better...

It only takes a few folds of kneading for the dough to come together and pick up enough flour to be easy to roll.  Roll it out to 3/4 inch thickness – mine ended up a little on the thin side, and these biscuits don’t rise a lot during baking, so be sure to have the dough nice and thick.  Cut the biscuits with a 2.5″ biscuit cutter or something of similar size – I usually use a wide-mouthed water glass.  Save the edges that fall off, knead them together again, roll it out once more, and cut more biscuits.

Cut

Dip the cutter in flour before each biscuit

I usually “round up” the edges by cupping them between my hands and turning the biscuit around, raising the edges a little.  Place all biscuits on a parchment- or wax paper-lined cookie sheet, dot or brush the tops with soft butter or margarine, and preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  They take about 10-12 minutes to bake to a beautiful golden brown.

Oven ready

Oven-ready biscuits!

While the oven heats and the biscuits bake, let’s get the gravy together!  I used the drippings from the breakfast bacon and sausages and scaled down accordingly; the amounts posted are for a full-size batch.

Leave only 2 tablespoons of the fat drippings in the roasting pan, and add 2 cups of broth or water to them (I cheated and used about a quarter of a bouillon cube with my 1/2 cup water).  Over medium heat, cook and stir it for a bit to loosen all the browned bits from the bottom – they give the best taste!

Cooking

Boilin' up the browned taste

In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, stir together 1/4 cup cold water with 2 tablespoons of corn starch, and add this to the cooking gravy.  Be sure to stir the gravy as you pour the starch in to avoid lumps – they can be stirred out, but it’s better not even to start having them!

Thick

The plot thickens

All there’s left to it is to season your gravy to taste with salt and pepper, and cook it over a medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches the consistency you like.

Try to use the meat’s roasting pan for making the gravy – if it’s difficult, try to either scrape up all the brown parts from the bottom (less optimal solution), or just heat the broth in the pan, and transfer everything to a smaller saucepan before adding the thickening (better solution).

This brown gravy goes great with mashed potatoes, your turkey feast, or the biscuits you just made:

Biscuits & Gravy

Biscuits & Gravy

Enjoy your meal!

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