I know what you might be thinking.
“Who has time to make biscuits and gravy in the morning?”
But hear me out… think about making this for supper. It’s cold, it’s dark and you want something without a lot of fuss. Biscuits and gravy make the perfect low-fuss, cold-weather meal. Trust me. Also? It’s cheap (ahem… frugal). You probably have all of this in your pantry right now.
Start with 5 cups of SIFTED flour. It’s important that you sift the flour first or the biscuits will be too heavy.
Then add 1 tsp of salt and 1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder to the flour. Mix well.
Mix in 1/4 cup of very, very cold lard. You can use butter, I guess but lard gives pastry this unmistakable flaky texture that can’t be duplicated. Use your hands to work the lard into the flour. You want some of it to be coarse like meal but to also have larger chunks (like 1/4 inch in size) floating around in there.
Next… 1 1/4 cup of milk. Most recipes call for buttermilk but I never keep it on hand. I think you can make it with regular milk and maybe… lemon juice? I don’t know – I just use plain ol’ milk. Stir just until it’s almost cohesive. Don’t overmix or the biscuits will be tough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and very gently knead 4-6 times. GENTLY! Then roll out to about a 1/2 inch thickness with a rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, patting it out will do.
Then here is where the “tricks” begin…
Using a fork, poke holes all in the dough (going all the way through). Mine are a little far apart – you want them about 1/2 an inch apart.
Using a biscuit cutter, a glass or a mason jar lid cut out the biscuit rounds. But don’t don’t don’t TWIST the cutter. This seals the dough and prevents it from rising. I didn’t always know this and I had some sorry lookin’ biscuits to show for it. Third tip – place the biscuits on the pan so that they juuussstt touch.
Don’t reroll the extra dough – just place it on the pan. The kids will like the shapes and you (for once since becoming a parent) will get to eat the nice, round, perfect biscuits instead of the stuff that turns out imperfect.
These will go into a 500 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.
Let’s get started on the gravy. Mmmm… gravvvvyyyyy.
This is my best friend in the kitchen. I can do without fancy kitchen gadgets (I prefer to be without those, actually) or the latest in stainless steel but I gots to have my bacon grease.
Pour some of this into a skillet… about enough to cover the bottom of the pan – more if you have a big family.
Get it hot using medium heat. Bacon grease has a high smoking point so don’t be afraid to get it really hot.
Next, throw in some flour. Use enough to cover all the bacon fat… start slow and keep adding. You can always add more but you can’t take it out, ya know! Stir it all around using a fork, a whisk, a metal spatula or whatever you like. Get all the lumps out of the flour.
Don’t leave it alone…. keep stirring it until it’s nice and brown like this:
Turn the heat down to low and add milk. You don’t want to scald the poor milk, for heaven’s sake.
Keep stirring until the milk heats up and you have no more lumps. Only add enough milk to get nice, thick gravy like this. Pour a little at a time until it’s just like you want it.
In the meantime, your biscuits are golden brown and flaky. LOOK at those flakes, would ya! Feel free to devour one with butter.
I like to break the biscuits apart and pour the gravy over. Yummmm.
To really make this a meal, add some browned sausage to the gravy and serve it all with a side of scrambled eggs.
I just love breakfast for supper, don’t you?