Brunch rules. It gives you an excuse to day drink, and it’s a time where people get creative in food combinations. Hi chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and biscuits and gravy. One by one I’m on a mission to provide the best brunch recipes, and this here is a special one.
My brother Sean, aka The Biscuit Queen, is the most incredible baker. He provided the extra fluffy, extremely layered, and above all; inordinately buttery recipe for the biscuits. I could wax poetic about how beautiful and artisinal these biscuits are with their subtle honey flavor and golden glow.
And to pair with them is my sausage gravy that’s packed with fresh sage and some crushed red pepper for your nerve. The salty gravy with attitude absorbs so beautifully into the sweet and buttery biscuits.
In short, this dish tastes like warmth and family because that’s where it comes from. You also get to read the recipe as my brother wrote it which is fun.
Biscuits by Sean:
- 18! Tablespoons butter, then, 3Tb later
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 2Tb baking powder
- 2Tb sugar
- 1Tb salt
- 3Tb honey, plus 3Tb more later
- 2 cups COLD buttermilk, SHAKEN!!!!!!
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside until further notice.Don’t forget where you put it.
Cut the butter into half-inch cubes and freeze for 10 minutes (which is usually how long an oven takes to preheat, conveniently)
Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt) in your biggest bowl. Add the frozen butter to the dry mix and toss it around to coat the flour. Use your hands or a pastry cutter (I use a pastry cutter) to work the butter into the flour. Work quickly, until the mix looks like a coarse meal. I like to leave some of the butter in relatively large chunks because different sizes of butter-chunks will melt at different times in the oven and the steam will work differently and you get different layers and just do what I say.
Whisk the honey into 1 and 3/4 cup of the buttermilk. Stir that wet mix into the dry mix with a fork or wooden spoon. You want to get all the flour clumps at the bottom of the bowl into the mix. If your flour was particularly dry that day you may need the rest of the buttermilk. If the mixture looks dry, add more buttermilk a tablespoon at a time. I pretty much always add it because more buttermilk means moister biscuits, but you don’t want biscuit soup.
For the rest of this recipe until you put the biscuits in the oven you’ll want to have flour within arm’s reach. You’ll want to flour your hands and knead the biscuit dough in the bowl until it kinda comes together just a little. Turn it out on to a nicely floured surface and knead it some more, not too much, into a rectangle about 12″x6″x1/2″. Fold the biscuit dough like a letter. Hold your arms out by your side like you’re Jesus. Put your right hand to your left shoulder, then your left hand to your right elbow. That’s basically how you want to fold the dough). Pat it back into the rectangle and repeat the folding process twice, for a total of three letter-folds. Think of how many layers you’ll have! Flour your hands, the top of the dough, and the kneading surface as necessary as you go, and if biscuit bits start falling out all over the place, just throw them in the middle as you fold. When all your folding is done, press the dough into any shape as long as it’s an even 3/4″ thickness.
If you don’t have biscuit cutters you can use a drinking glass to cut the biscuits into circles, or you can face the wrath of long-dead Chumleys and use a knife to cut them into squares. If you do circles, feel free to knead the dough back together, give it one extra letter-fold and cut some more. Get the most from your dough! Also, if you’re using a glass, be sure you dip it in flour before each cut. Don’t twist the cutter at any point because it closes off the pores of the sides of the biscuits and inhibits rising.
Go get that baking sheet from the beginning of this recipe and put the biscuits on it. Give them some room to breathe, but they don’t need a ton of space. They rise up, not out, as they bake, for the most part. Bake them in the oven for 18 minutes. As they cook, melt 3 Tb butter and 3Tb honey in a small pan on the stove. Pull the biscuits out and brush with the honey butter. I usually do 2 coats at this point (Paint each biscuit with a layer, do the whole pan, go back to the top and start over).
Reduce oven heat to 350 and bake the biscuits another 10 minutes. I usually put the biscuits in and then drop the temperature because I think the oven runs cold. The biscuits are done when they’re nice and tall and the bottoms are golden brown. If you have any honey-butter left, brush it on at this point.
While your biscuits are in the oven make the gravy.
- 1 lb loose breakfast sausage
- 2 tbsp butter plus more for later
- 2 cups fresh sage roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- A dash soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
Over medium-high heat in a large pan (preferably cast iron) heat your oil. Add the sausage and saute until cooked through. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside for later.
Melt the butter and then toss in the sage and crushed red pepper. Give it about two minutes just so the aromatics can crisp up and flavor the grease.
Sprinkle the flour over and stir so you don’t have any lumps. Cook while constantly stirring for two to three minutes to cook out the flour taste.
Add the milk, stock, and soy sauce. Make sure to scrape the bottom of your pan to get up any browned bits. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the gravy to thicken up, about fove to seven minutes. Season to taste with salt, plenty of black pepper, and butter.
Slice your biscuits in half and serve the gravy over the top. Try not to cry or become comatose.