How and why I love Autumn (part two):
Hunter’s moon still carousing at 7 a.m., hung between power lines in a Chicago back alley
puddled leaves and iron fences
curtains billowing in crisp breezes
the perfect sweater dress
which turned out not to be the perfect sweater dress since it hugged lumpily and unflattering
finding compensatory summer dress and shorts for $6.56 total
Rocking the summer dress with a leather jacket and high-heeled boots
Buttermilk Biscuits with Bacon Sage Gravy
(can also be filed under why I should be 300 lbs…)
Servings 4-5 biscuits
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter
3 oz low-fat buttermilk
(if you really like gravy, double recipe)
2 strips bacon, cut into lardons
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4-1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh sage, rough chopped
salt and pepper to taste
To make biscuits:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Cut butter in half lengthwise. Cut those sticks in half lengthwise. Cut into small cubes.
Crumble the butter in until you have a coarse mixture, with pea-sized bits of butter.
I use my hands, but you could use a pastry cutter. Place in fridge for 10 minutes. I started the lardons for my gravy while I waited.
Add the buttermilk,
and gently stir together just until a dough start to form. Knead briefly, turning the dough onto itself again and again to create layers.
Gentle kneading is the most important step in getting layers built into your biscuits which makes for taller, lighter, flakier biscuits. Just knead until all of the buttermilk is absorbed and until a homogenous dough is achieved. The layers don’t take that long to build, and over-kneading results in tough texture.
Turn out onto table or cutting board and gently mold with your hands.
Lightly press the dough until it is between 1/2 and 3/4-inch thick.
You can use round cutter to cut the traditional biscuits, but I don’t like to waste. Plus, reforming the scraps makes for inferior biscuits. So I just cut them into rough squares with my bench scraper.
Brush them with melted butter if you want that buttery crust.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden brown.
Can be wrapped and frozen. Defrost by toasting in a toaster oven or oven set to 325.
To make the gravy:
Place bacon lardons in a cold pan and put on medium heat. Render until crispy. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Add tablespoon butter to pan. Saute onions until lightly caramelized.
Add flour and mix. It’s going to get lumpy and gross looking. Don’t fret. Everything is going to be just fine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, to cook out the raw flour taste.
Whisk in 1 1/4 cups chicken stock until smooth. If the gravy is too thick, whisk in additional 1/4 cup stock.
Fold in bacon and sage. Taste for seasoning. Adjust. Serve warm.
**to make vegetarian, start with onions and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Salt onions to compensate for the lack of salty bacon fat. Use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock. It won’t be quite as good, but it will still be mighty delicious for sure.