Having grown up in the north I never was exposed to the wonderful delights of southern cooking. To me “grits” meant the various grades of sandpaper and “greens” were the colors found in the park. Boy, was I in for a culinary awakening.
My wife and her family are from Tennessee. Because of this I have been educated in some good old down home southern cooking over the years. The mere mention of hog jowls, pig knuckles, greens and grits now brings forth a respectful and heart-felt, “them's good eats.” And I mean it, southern cooking has very tasty dishes.
I have learned quite a few recipes from these wonderful folks and think you may be enlightened by the simplicity and BIG flavors found in southern cuisine.
Sunday mornings are known for “Dad’s Big Breakfasts,” as my kids endearingly call them. This is usually when I lay out a feast “fit for a king” (and my queen of course.) Everyone looks forward to these meals with great enthusiasm. Whenever I do decide to take everyone out for breakfast instead, they all try to make me feel guilty for not cooking them breakfast by saying, “Why do we have to go out to eat?!” Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
Here is my recipe for Southern Sawmill Gravy and Biscuits that I think you will enjoy. Just a few ingredients are required. And the taste? Well, according to all accounts, it's aaawesome.
Bulk breakfast sausage – 1 pound (available from your butcher)
Flour – 5 tablespoons
Milk – 2 cups (any kind will do but whole milk is preferred)
2. When done, remove the sausage from the pan and place in a bowl and set it aside for now. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of fat. (I just eyeball it the best I can.) If you happen to get lean sausage that doesn't render off much fat you may have to add a little butter to the pan.
3. Whisk flour into the fat adding a little bit at a time, getting it to be the consistency of creamy peanut butter. If all you can get to mix into the fat is 3-4 tablespoons of flour to get it to the right consistency then so be it. (We don't want to make wall spackle here.) Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes to remove any floury taste. This is called a “roux.” It's done when you notice that the roux gets to be a light brown color.
4. It's now time to whisk in the milk a little at a time. It may start to get a little lumpy, but as it heats up and you continue whisking, it will smooth out.
5. Now return it to medium-high heat and stir occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer and thickens. (Flavor note: Scrape up any yummy bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan; that's where the flavor is.)
6. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne to your taste, put the sausage back into the pan and mix it in with the gravy.
7. Serve over your favorite biscuits. I like to use Bisquick for its simplicity. Want it even easier? Use Pillsbury Grands Biscuits.