Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Posted on 12 November 2010

Last weekend we decided to stay in the whole weekend, this meant I could be extra productive and bake a batch of these homemade biscuits with gravy. I shouldn’t say I was super productive as the hubs did have to nag/beg me to get up and make these for him. Whenever we go back to North Carolina we usually eat some type of biscuit with either sausage and cheese or bacon and egg for breakfast. These buttermilk cheddar biscuits with rich, creamy sausage gravy combine all those flavors in one perfect brunch time meal.

The buttermilk in the biscuits makes them fluffy and moist. The butter puffs up while the biscuits are baking in the oven and melts into the dough, making flaky layers and giving the biscuits a layer of richness. The sausage gravy adds even more moisture to the meal and adds some umami notes to the already savory biscuits.

As well as being the perfect brunch (if you could add poached eggs somehow it would be stellar!), it is also a snap to make! All the ingredients come straight from the fridge, so the butter, eggs and buttermilk should all be fridge cold so there is no waiting around time. In a mixer the whole dough mixing process takes about 6-7 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer these are still so easy to make. Honestly, sometimes I prefer to use my hands to rub the butter into the flour as I know that I will not over mix the butter in the way a mixer can. It should take about 10 minutes by hand, so not a terrible amount of difference.

Notes: If you are serving these biscuits on their own, without the sausage gravy, increase the amount of kosher salt to 1 1/2 teaspoon.

Sweet Italian sausage is ground pork sausage meat flavored with fennel seed, anise and pepper. If sweet sausage is unavailable, any mild tasting, not spicy sausage will work.

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits, makes 10 biscuits
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (see Notes)
12 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cold buttermilk, shaken
1 cold large egg
1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar (see Notes)
1 egg beaten with a splash of water

1. Heat oven to 425ºF. Add the egg to the buttermilk in a measuring jug and beat to combine, set aside. Take a tablespoon of the flour and add it the grated cheese. Toss to coat the cheese with the flour, set aside. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper and set aside. Place the remaining flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas. You may need to shut the mixer off and manually rub the butter into the flour to get the butter pieces all the same size.

2. Turn the mixer back to low and add the buttermilk mixture to the flour in one addition. Mix until just combined. Add the cheese mixture to the dough and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer.

3. Using clean counter space, flour a 12×12″ area well. Form a ball with the dough in the mixer bowl and place it on the flour. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough gently. Using your hands again, form a 5×10″ rectangle with the dough.

4. Using a 2 3/4″ biscuit cutter, cut out 8 biscuits from the dough. Reform squares of the same thickness to get the last two biscuits.
*You can also cut the dough into 8 squares as the original recipe suggests.

4. Place biscuits on the prepared baking sheet.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash and pop in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden grown.

Sausage Gravy
1/2 tsp canola oil
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage (see Notes)
1/2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk

1. Heat the oil in a 9″ saute pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and break up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage is browned.

2. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, trying to keep as much of the oil and fat in the pan as possible. Add the butter (less if you have a lot of oil) and allow to melt. Add flour and begin to whisk continuously for 2 minutes until the flour and butter have formed a smooth paste (a roux) and the flour is cooked.

3. Begin to add the milk in a thin stream, whisking all the time to prevent lumps.

4. When all the milk is added, let the gravy simmer gently for 2-3 minutes to make sure the milk is heated through.

5. Re-add the sausage and cook on medium low heat for 2-3 minutes.

To serve: Place two of the still warm from the oven buttermilk cheddar biscuits on a plate and pour the sausage gravy over the top. Enjoy!

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