Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Who doesn't love a freshly baked buttermilk biscuit made from scratch?  Biscuits made from scratch are both easy and quick. This recipe makes a half sheet pan of biscuits leaving you with plenty to enjoy now and more for later.  They freeze well so you can always have them on hand.


 Buttermilk Biscuits 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a 1/2 sheet pan with parchment.
  • 8 c. All purpose flour
  • 5T. + 1 t. Baking powder
  • 1t. Baking soda
  • 4 t. Kosher salt
  • 1/2c. (1 Stick) Real butter (chilled)
  • 1/2c. Lard (chilled)
  • 1 Quart buttermilk (chilled)
  • Melted butter for brushing the tops

Method
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Use a  to cut the fats into the flour mixture until the fats are in pea-sized pieces.  A pastry blender helps to keep the fats from melting so I prefer to use this tool rather than my hands. 




Pour the chilled buttermilk into the mixture and stir with a fork just until the dough comes together.  The more you handle the dough the tougher your biscuits will be. 


For minimal handling I do not roll and cut the biscuits.  I pat the dough into a rectangle that fills a 1/2 sheet pan.  For more consistent biscuits make the dough a little thinner in the middle and thicker along the edges.  Cut the dough using a pizza wheel before baking.  The biscuits will bake together but with indentations so that you can separate them without breaking the crusty tops. 



 Bake the biscuits for 30 minutes until golden brown.  Brush the tops with melted butter.  

If your biscuits are hot from the oven split them open and top with the sausage gravy (recipe follows).  If you made them ahead they can be split open and rewarmed, cut side down, in a skillet or reheated in the oven.



Sausage Gravy
The sausage that you use is the foundation for the gravy so make sure it is a good quality.  I use a locally produced breakfast sausage for my gravy.  I don't measure anything when making this.  I buy a package of loose sausage that is usually a bit over a pound and brown it in a cast iron skillet. Once the sausage begins to brown a sturdy pastry blender (the type with thin blades not wires) can make quick work of chopping it apart.  You could stretch this recipe to make significantly more gravy without increasing the sausage but I am partial to "sausage gravy" rather than "gravy with sausage flavor". Notice the fat/flour/liquid proportions.  If you want to increase the volume of gravy add a cup of liquid for each additional T. of fat and flour.
  • 1 lb (or so) Sausage
  • 3-4 T. Fat
  • 3-4 T. AP Flour
  • 6 oz. Chicken broth  (this is the volume of broth in my half-pint canning jars)
  • 2-3 c. Dairy--this can be any combination of milk, cream or evaporated milk depending on what you have on hand.  
Method
Brown the sausage well over medium heat and then remove excess fat from the pan. Sprinkle the flour over the sausage in the pan and stir to incorporate.  



Let the flour cook for a minute or two before adding the liquids.  Chicken broth is not traditionally used for sausage gravy but I find that it adds a bright note.  Add the liquids all at once and stir until the gravy thickens.  


You can adjust the thickness of the gravy to your liking.  If it is too thin let it simmer until it is the desired consistency or use a fine mesh strainer to sift in another tablespoon of flour.  For gravy that is too thick just add more liquid until it is the consistency you prefer.



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