January 9, 2013

A Southern Tradition

Biscuits and gravy are indeed a southern tradition for sure.  I grew up on biscuits in gravy in the countryside of Arkansas and loved the smell of homemade biscuits cooking throughout my parent's home.  My mom makes some of the best biscuits you ever put butter on and she really knows how to bring people to the table with her gravy as well.  

Biscuits have gotten a bit more fluffy over the years that they have been baked.  The first biscuit was actually a flat bread that would be pout back in the oven hence the "bis" part of biscuits...."bis" meaning twice, as in twice cooked.  The flat bread was hard and was eaten by soldiers  to help keep them full while traveling to and from war zones. (Source)  With that said the flakier, fluffier biscuit came from the southern kitchens over time and were added to just about every meal that came out of the kitchen in the south.  I remember having a biscuit with breakfast at least and at almost every dinner.  

Gravy came along with the turn of the need for a fuller meal to keep farmers and military men full.  It was a cheap way of using all the parts of cooking meat.  The meat fats were either used on the biscuits straight or milk, flour and water were added to make the grease and fat go further for more mouths.  

Now days there are a bit more choices and the options for biscuits and gravy are thought to be a treat rather than a need for a hearty meal.  Here is my twist on a history making, southern tradition.

A few months before Valentine's Day last year my mom sent me a package of the Loveless Cafe biscuit mix.  If you want a great tasting buttermilk biscuit without the hassle of all the measuring and mixing, give this mix a try.  All you add is the buttermilk!

The Loveless Cafe is in Tennessee and you can snag your own biscuit mix and Loveless Cafe jam set  HERE for under $40.



I baked my biscuits in a cast iron skillet just like my mom used to do when I was a kid.  I love the skillet biscuits because the bake up all smashed together and just seem like real biscuits that way instead of on a cookie sheet.  

How tasty and yummy do those look?



Next came the gravy.  A simple gravy is made with a fat, flour, milk, and finally water.  That's just about it!

  Here's how it's done the southern way:

Start with a cup of bacon grease.  Heat the bacon grease over medium heat and add a cup of flour.  Turn the heat up to medium high and combine the bacon grease with the flour and begin to "burn" the flour.  Once the flour begins to burn or turn brown slightly, reduce the heat back down to medium and add 2 cups of milk.  Combine the milk with the burned flour and bacon grease mixture with a wire whisk until thick.  Add 3 cups of water and turn heat on high.  Whisk the gravy mixture until thick and reduce heat to low.  Serve over the top of prepared biscuits.  



Serve with a pad of butter and salt/pepper on top.  The BEST biscuits and gravy you ever tasted.  Such a southern tradition for breakfast on the weekends! 

Enjoy!


Eco-Tip:  Use bulk items when you can.  Buying items in bulk and storing in reusable food containers can help cut down on manufacturers package waste with each item you buy.  When you do go buy bulk items, be sure and take your own reusable bags to fill as well too.  For this and other tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me Go Green.

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