So, after a long hiatus, I'm finally back! I promise I'm going to post with a little more regularity, it's just been a whirlwind month for me. Thanks to my little group of loyal readers who are bearing with me and have patiently waited for this phase of my life to pass.
I'm done with my first semester of culinary school! With all A's to show for it! It did get a little hairy there towards the end, but I still feel really good about my decision to start [and stick to] this program.
For my first post in a while, I decided to make biscuits and gravy. I've been eating a lot of comfort food lately, which is definitely the opposite of what I should be doing at the start of bikini season here in beautiful Charleston, SC. Regardless, I'm doing it anyways, so I figure I might as well post about it.
This could even be a nice breakfast to make your mom or your wife or whomever you deem appropriate on Mother's Day. If you're not working brunch, that is. Which I am doing, along with everyone else I know, considering nearly everyone else I know is a Food & Bev kid.
I guess some [not southern] people have a hard time understanding the concept of biscuits and gravy. I'm always appalled when people have never heard of, or tasted, biscuits and gravy for breakfast. It's in that same category as grits. It's surprising how many people are like "What are grits?" when I'm waiting tables. It's a pretty difficult concept for me to grasp. I mean, my sister and I were spoonfed this stuff as kids. But I digress.
I made buttermilk biscuits by scratch, but they didn't turn out remarkably well. I actually threw out the first batch of dough because it just wasn't right, and the second batch still didn't turn out as fluffy and nice as I wanted it to. So, I'm leaving the biscuit recipe out of the equation. Here is my favorite recipe for country gravy, which is based on a recipe I found on allrecipes.com.
3/4 onion, finely chopped
3/4 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
S&P to taste
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 cups milk, divided
chicken stock, to taste
white wine, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
In a skillet on medium heat cook pork, onion, peppers, red pepper, chili powder, and garlic.
Cool until pork is crumbly. Drain off excess fat, leaving a small amount.
Combine butter, salt, and pepper with the meat mixture and stir until the butter melts. Slowly sift flour over the top. Mix gently and allow mixture to cook for 5 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. Don't forget to scrape the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme.
Add a splash of chicken stock and white wine to taste. I thought this added flavor and a hint of acid, which this heavy gravy needed. If it thickens too much, add more milk. Adjust the taste with more salt and pepper as needed.
Just before serving, add the parsley, and about 1/4 cup more milk; the gravy will thicken quickly as it cools.