Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

When I was pregnant with Jewell, I craved three things. Thai food, sausage and gravy biscuits, and a Dr. Pepper with Goldfish. (Crackers. Not the ones that swim in a tank.) I was working at Faulkner, and Lek's Taste of Thailand is next door, so I ate there several (and I mean SEVERAL) times a week. I was limiting my caffeine so I drank decaf coffee and treated myself with one soda a day. So what if I preferred to drink it and eat Goldfish at 2:00 am in the morning in front of an open fridge? It was summer. And I was pregnant. And finally - sausage and gravy biscuits from Krystal were my favorite. Luckily, that wasn't too far away from our house, and Gerald often made early morning runs for them.

I still love Lek's. It will be my last meal should I ever end up on death row. Imagine my joy when Brack decided he liked it, too! (Jewell doesn't. I think she got enough in utero. Gerald tolerates it. He loves me!)

I still enjoy a cold DP and Goldfish every now and then. But living in Tallassee means no early morning runs to Krystal. That's OK. I make my own sausage and gravy biscuits, and truth be told, they're much, much better!

Not long ago, Gerald and the kids were getting ready to head south a couple of counties to hunt and spend the night on the land where my mama was born and raised. My uncle has built a gi-normous pond and put a little trailer on it, so it's a cross between camping and the Holiday Inn. (Kitchens and bathrooms make all the difference, people.)

They were packing up and planning to leave about 10:30 that morning, so I thought brunch was the best way to go. That meant Gerald just had to handle one meal during the late afternoon. (Can you say "Welcome to Cracker Barrel"?) I threw this all together in a little more than 30 minutes. Breakfast is the one meal that gets EVERYONE in my family to the table with a smile on their faces! 

Sausage Gravy

1/2 pound ground sausage
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

I love Jimmy Dean regular sausage. Don't care for the breakfast blend or any other for that matter. It just takes a half pound for the gravy. I usually cut a package in half and place one half in the freezer for later use. Be sure and use fresh sausage that you brown yourself. You need the grease that comes off it, since you don't add any extra oil.

Break up sausage with a wooden spoon and brown over medium high heat. I like to flatten it out and let one side get pretty brown before scrambling it around to finish cooking it. Leave any fat that is rendered off in the pan.

Reduce heat to medium low and add two tablespoons of flour to the cooked sausage and stir to coat evenly. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly to cook off raw taste of flour. 

This is what it looks like after a couple of minutes.

Slowly add in two cups of milk. I use 1% because that's what we drink. Not too bad for you! Whisk gently to break up any lumps. Mix well.

Once it is completely mixed, turn heat up to medium and cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Reduce to low and cover.

Now's as good a time as ever to tell you about my scrambled eggs. My family absolutely loves them and Gerald says they're the best he's ever had! I know they're just eggs, but eggs are kinda a big deal in the culinary world. I've heard that chefs interviewing for new positions are asked to cook eggs. It sounds simple, but it's not really. Anyway - here are my tips...

For the four of us, I usually use six eggs. I add a splash of half and half and salt and pepper. I also add about a half teaspoon of cream of tartar. Just like how cream of tartar supports egg whites, I think it supports my scrambled eggs and helps to keep them light and fluffy. Here's why. I honestly believe the secret to my scrambled eggs is that I BEAT THEM TO DEATH! I whisk and whisk and whisk until my arm is tired. Then, right before I pour them in the pan, I whisk them again. It would probably be easier to do this with the hand mixer, but I have always done it by hand. Just easier than having to get out the mixer, I guess. 

I heat my non-stick skillet over medium heat and melt a tablespoon of butter in the pan. I pour in my eggs and then begin to scrap the sides and stir the eggs with a plastic spatula. When they are about set (see above), I take a couple of slices of American cheese (sandwich slices) and tear them up and toss in the eggs. Continue to stir the eggs so the cheese will melt. You could use Velveeta, but not just regular cheddar. I don't think it melts as well or is as creamy.

Continue to scrap down the pan and gently stir the eggs. I usually turn down the heat after I add the cheese.

Another trick - don't overcook them. I don't like wet, runny eggs, but if you cook them until they look dry, they get rubbery. Stop cooking a little short of what you think is done. They'll continue to cook a little in the pan before serving.

As far as biscuits go, I usually have Pillsbury frozen biscuits in my freezer. Seriously, y'all, they're good, and like Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, why go to the trouble?

I love jelly on my eggs. I know, crazy, right? (I also eat syrup on my cheese toast. Try it. You'll thank me!) I pulled out a jar of strawberry jam that I made this past summer, and Voila! This turned out to be a quick, satisfying meal, and we got to sit down and enjoy a meal together before they alone...for two days...Woo Hoo! 

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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